The 19th Annual Full Frame Documentary Film Festival will feature two Drew Associates films as part of this year’s thematic program, “Perfect and Otherwise: Documenting American Politics.” Curated by filmmaker R.J. Cutler, the films will focus on the inherent drama of the American electoral system.
The two films, “Primary” and “Crisis: Behind A Presidential Commitment,” will screen on both April 8 and 9. The festival will be screening the new, fully remastered 2K digital restorations courtesy of Janus Films, which owns The Criterion Collection. Criterion is releasing the remastered versions of those films, plus two other Drew Kennedy films, on disc on April 26.
“Primary” is a natural for the program because it is widely seen as setting the standard for all campaign films that followed. It tells the story of then-Sen. John F. Kennedy as he battles with Sen. Hubert Humphrey in the 1960 Wisconsin Presidential primary.
“Crisis: Behind a Presidential Commitment,” goes inside Kennedy’s Oval Office during the President’s confrontation with Gov. George Wallace, who defied a federal court order and stood in the schoolhouse door to prevent two African-American students from enrolling at the all-white University of Alabama in 1963.
The festival runs from April 7-10, 2016, in Durham, N.C. Tickets are available at the Full Frame website.
On April 6, The Criterion Collection will host its first-ever “Criterion Collection Live!” event at The Metrograph in Manhattan. Designed to give ticketholders a peek into Criterion’s discriminating process for picking films to add to its collection, and its process of remastering them for optimal visual and audio quality, the night will also feature discussions with key players involved in the release of The Kennedy Films of Robert Drew & Associates.
Criterion president Peter Becker will be joined by the legendary documentary filmmaker D.A. Pennebaker; Jill Drew (Robert Drew’s daughter-in-law and Drew Associates’ general manager); journalist Frank Rich; and more to discuss these groundbreaking films, especially relevant in an election year so dominated by the 24-hour news cycle. Admission includes tickets to the discussion, plus rare outtakes; an advance copy of the gift set; drink reception with the speakers; and screenings, including the alternate Richard Leacock cut of Primary (1960); Crisis (1963), documenting the tense standoff between the White House and the segregationist governor of Alabama; and the mournful Faces of November (1964), shot at Kennedy’s funeral. Tickets available at the Metrograph website. The event starts at 7 p.m.
Remastered for unparalleled visual and audio quality, the four Kennedy films produced by Robert Drew and his Associates, will be released on disc by The Criterion Collection on April 26. These are the classic films that form the bedrock of what President John F. Kennedy understood would be a new form of history.
Drew and his Associates — including famed filmmakers Richard Leacock, D.A. Pennebaker and Albert Maysles — trace the promising-to-tragic political arc of the nation’s 35th President. Filmed in what was then a revolutionary style that came to be known as American cinema verite, the films capture the drama from Kennedy’s Presidential campaign in 1960 (PRIMARY), his inauguration and first days in office (ADVENTURES ON THE NEW FRONTIER), the top-level strategizing in the Oval Office during the forced integration of the University of Alabama in the summer of 1963 (CRISIS: BEHIND A PRESIDENTIAL COMMITMENT), to the funeral of the assassinated President (FACES OF NOVEMBER) in November of that same year.
The Criterion Collection, in partnership with the Archive of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, selected original elements of all four films and created new digital versions, expertly restored. The Criterion Collection edition of “The Kennedy Films of Robert Drew & Associates” includes several extras, such as never-before-seen outtakes from the raw footage of CRISIS, and several original interviews with figures including filmmaker Pennebaker, former Attorney General Eric Holder, and Kennedy scholars Richard Reeves and Andrew Cohen.
The Blu-Ray and DVD discs are also available for purchase on Amazon.