Tuesday night, Docurama launched its 10th Anniversary celebrations with a sold-out screening of the rare cinema verite classic JANE. The evening featured a star-studded Q&A (Bob Drew, D.A. Pennebaker and Hope Ryden) and audience of documentary all-stars (above photo, L to R: STF host Thom Powers, Susan Margolin (co-principal Docurama Films), filmmakers Hope Ryden and D.A. Pennebaker and Robert Drew (founder of the legendary doc company Drew Associates).
During the Q&A, Robert Drew spoke about how impressed he was with the filmmaking behind JANE. Watching the film anew, he appreciated how much of Hope Ryden and D.A. Pennebaker was in every shot and every cut. When discussing editing, D.A. Pennebaker said “the process of editing brings out your most tender. It’s actually very Jungian: the fabrication of a fantasy in your head that you must tell people about or you’ll die.”
Ryden and Pennebaker also discussed the challenges of filming in the early days of sync sound. While Pennebaker was capturing all the shots (often not even hearing what was being said), Ryden was trying to get as close as possible to the subjects with her mic. Ryden explained that when shooting this film, they went through everything with Jane Fonda. “Whether she was on a train, waking up or reading her review – we were there with her and she knew we cared.”
An interesting piece of documentary gossip – when Ryden (the only woman at Drew Associates) was tasked by Drew with making a film about a prominent women – there were two other female celebrities that were initial targets for this documentary: Raquel Welch and Liza Minnelli. With Welch, things didn’t work out; with Minnelli, her agents said she didn’t photograph well from every angle and tried to impose shot limitations. And then they met Jane Fonda and knew she would be a perfect subject. Ryden cleared the request with Actors Equity and they started shooting.
This fall, STF passholders can show their cards to attend Docurama’s weekend matinee series at the IFC Center free of charge. For a complete list of films and show-times, click here.