D.A. Pennebaker

Filmmaker
Date Of Birth:
15 July 1925
Date Of Death:
1 August 2019
Place Of Birth:
Evanston, Illinois
Best Known As:
The documentarian who made Dylan's 'Don't Look Back'

Name at birth: Donn Alan Pennebaker

D.A. Pennebaker was a filmmaker who helped pioneer the cinema verit style of documentary filming during the 1950s and '60s. He was given an Oscar in 2013 for his lifetime achievement, which included the films Bob Dylan: Don't Look Back (1967), Monterey Pop (1969) and The War Room (1993). After studying to be an engineer and spending five years as an ad man, Pennebaker turned to making films in the early 1950s. His big break came when he was invited to film Bob Dylan's 1965 tour of England. Pennebaker followed Dylan with his camera for public and private scenes. The result was the 1967 documentary Bob Dylan: Don't Look Back. The film is now considered a classic of the cinema verit style (also called direct cinema -- what's on camera, without narration, tells the story). Pennebaker's follow-up was 1969's Monterey Pop, a concert film classic that features once-in-a-lifetime performances by Janis Joplin, Jimi Hendrix and Ravi Shankar. Musicians and politicians were the basis of many of his films, from Little Richard and John Lennon to David Bowie and Depeche Mode. He and his wife, Chris Hegedus, were filmmaking partners after the 1970s (they married in 1982). Their films included Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders From Mars (1973), Energy War (1977), Depeche Mode: 101 (1989), Branford Marsalis: The Music Tells You (1992) and Elaine Stritch at Liberty (2002, an Emmy winner).

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