The Cinema Eye Honors for Non-Fiction Filmmaking will present this year’s Legacy Award to directors Chris Hegedus and D.A. Pennebaker’s The War Room, a 1993 documentary about Bill Clinton’s first presidential campaign.
Hegedus (pictured above, left) and Pennebaker (right) will be on hand to accept the award at the 6th annual Cinema Eye Honors ceremony on January 9 at the Museum of the Moving Image in Astoria, New York. A screening of the film and discussion with members of the filmmaking will team take place the next night.
The creative team behind The War Room includes producers R.J. Cutler, Wendy Ettinger and Fraser Pennebaker; co-cinematographers Nick Doob and Kevin Rafferty, and co-editor Erez Laufer.
“The War Room is a seminal examination of political passion, a peek inside the presidential campaign spin machine that celebrates the pursuit of the democratic process,” said Cinema Eye’s advisory chair Andrea Meditch in a statement. “It is also a testament to the work of a team to create great non-fiction art and we salute all of the filmmakers involved in bringing this classic vérité film to the screen.”
Filmmaker Laura Poitras, chair of the Cinema Eye Filmmaker Advisory Board, added: “We are thrilled to honor Chris and Penny with the Legacy Award for The War Room. Their body of work in non-fiction filmmaking is unparalleled.
“They have been consistently ahead of the times, telling stories that capture the pulse of social movements. They are also two of the most generous filmmakers we know, always finding time to share their knowledge with other filmmakers. They are an inspiration to us all.”
This year, the Hot Docs Canadian International Documentary Festival has partnered with Cinema Eye to present the Legacy Award. Hot Docs will also host a special screening of The War Room and a conversation with Hegedus and Pennebaker in Toronto during this year’s festival, which takes place April 25 to May 5.
Now in its fourth year, the Cinema Eye Honors’ Legacy Award recognizes excellence in creative and artistic achievements in non-fiction filmmaking. Past winners include Ross McElwee’s Sherman’s March, the Maysles Brothers’ Grey Gardens and Frederick Wiseman’s Titicut Follies.
“For The War Room to be chosen for this momentous award and for it to be included in the company of the films of Maysles, Wiseman and McElwee, is a great honor,” Hegedus and Pennebaker said in a joint statement.
“When we filmed with Carville and Stephanopoulos, history was taking place in front of our cameras, but it seemed cluttered and disorganized and we were never really sure of what was going on. But the incredible eye of our camera always saw the truth… it saw history.”
Last month, Pennebaker received an Honorary Academy Award, which was given for “exceptional contributions to the state of motion picture arts and sciences, or for outstanding service to the Academy.”