In 1972, Ricky put a Super 8 synch-sound camera in Jane Weiner’s hand and said, “If you want to become a filmmaker, you have to shoot.” Turning her lens on him, she was suddenly transported into another universe: What began as a filmic conversation developed into a filmic adventure that traces the roots of Leacock’s cinematic quest and his role in documentary-making over the last century.
RICKY on LEACOCK is a 38-year journey began by director Jane Weiner as a novice filmmaker, shooting off and on during the intervening years, filming various encounters with Ricky and his contemporaries. Mixing her own footage with film clips and never-before-seen images from Ricky’s personal film archives, this film pays homage to a friend, mentor and, most importantly, allows him to tell his story in his own words.
Presented as an intimate, on-going cinematic conversation with Jane Weiner and other filmmakers, Leacock recounts the periods of his career spent with Robert Flaherty, Robert Drew, DA Pennebaker and others, during which he discusses the roots of his lifelong quest to capture “the feeling of being there.” Ricky Leacock helped lay the foundation not only for today’s filmmakers, but also for amateur filmmakers all over the world who use portable equipment and new technologies. His pioneering role in the development of hand-held, observational documentary films can be traced through several important eras in film history to the explosion of the small-format ‘being there’ filmmaking of our YouTube generation.
Jane Weiner is an award winning documentary filmmaker. In addition to her work as a documentary filmmaker and international co-producer, in 1973, Jane Weiner began teaching with the Center for Understanding Media in New York City in the Artist-in-the-School program under a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts. Over several years, she worked with elementary and high school teachers to integrate film, video and photography into the curriculum at schools in South Carolina, Connecticut, and the Virgin Islands. She used this same approach teaching with the Communications Experience in intercity schools in Philadelphia in 1974. From 1976-1989, as a member-of-the-faculty at the Graduate Media Studies Program at the New School in New York she taught courses on international television and documentary writing. During 2002-2004, Weiner taught documentary writing, beginning production, and international television at the Newhouse School for Communications at Syracuse University. Over the years, she has also conducted documentary and writing workshops for broadcast professionals and young directors in Europe, North Africa and Asia. Her many production credits include SILVERLAKE LIFE, JUPITER’S WIFE, HOME PAGE, RAVI SHANKAR and MYSERIOUS DISAPPEARANCE OF BEES, which garnered a huge European audience in 2010. Inspired by her mentor, Richard Leacock, her latest film for French TV, LA CAMERA PASSE-PARTOUT celebrates the legacy of the American Cinema vérité tradition.