D A Pennebaker is one of the most important documentary filmmakers of his generation. Awarded an honorary Oscar in 2012 for his collection of work that include such landmark films such as The War Room, Dont Look and Back and Monterey Pop, Pennebaker actually began shooting documentaries in New York back in the 1950’s. Pennebaker was born in Evanston, Illinois, where his father was a commercial photographer. Pennebaker moved to New York after a short stint in the Navy and worked as a carpenter making furniture before making his first movie, Daybreak Express. In 1959, he joined a film making coop and began producing films for ABC News and Time-Life. A feature on the 1960 Democratic Primary in Wisconsin between John F Kennedy and Hubert Humphrey was included in the Library of Congress’ National Film registry. His documentary on Bob Dylan’s last acoustic concert tour of England Don’t Look Back continues to regarded as a watershed moment in music filmmaking. Pennebaker continues to make films with his partner and spouse Chris Hegedus, the latest effort Unlocking the Cage documents the work of animal rights attorney Steven Wise.
Ken Rockburn spoke to D A Pennebaker in New York.
A veteran journalist and broadcaster widely recognized for his irreverent and entertaining interview and presentation style, Ken is an award-winning journalist with almost 40 years of experience on radio and television. He first joined CPAC in 2001 as host of Talk Politics which ran for eight seasons. He returned to CPAC in 2010 to host Rockburn Presents. Prior to joining CPAC, Ken hosted CBC Radio’s All In a Day, CBC TV Ottawa’s Rockburn and Company and was news director at CHEZ-FM in Ottawa.