A full house greeted the 87 year-old Richard Leacock as he made a special visit to Stranger Than Fiction from Paris. Among the luminaries in the audience were Albert Maysles and D.A. Pennebaker (see photo on left), Chris Hegedus, Robert Drew, George Stoney, Kevin Rafferty, and many others. Titled THE AUTOBIOGRAPHY OF RICHARD LEACOCK, the evening was a sampling of various films and clips from Leacock’s illustrious career. The evening started out with a screening of Leacock’s very first film – CANARY BANANAS (1934) – shot when he was only 13 years old. This 7 minute short was intended to convey the “bliss” of his life in the Canary Islands to his classmates in his boarding school in England. “Instead”, he laughs, “it became a commercial for my father’s banana plantation”. The next film THE CHILDREN WERE WATCHING (1961) tells the story of a white New Orleans school legally forced to integrate four black students, and the surrounding hatred and racism of the situation. Leacock describes one scene, where he is in the house of a family supporting integration while outside the anti-integration people are banging on the windows and doors, as being “more frightening than being a combat photographer in WWII.” The last clip was from his most recent film MUSICAL ADVENTURE IN SIBERIA which he shot with his daughter Victoria in 1996.
In addition to his film career, Richard Leacock also discussed the book he has been writing for the last several years, describing the experience as “just as enjoyable as making films”. The electronic book will feature 97 films that can be interactively accessed while reading. We all impatiently await its release!