Celebrating the Life and Legacy of Ed Pincus:
a discussion on pushing boundaries — up close and personal
Moderator SCOTT FOUNDAS is Chief Film Critic for Variety. Prior to joining Variety, he was Chief Film Critic for The Village Voice, where his writing was syndicated throughout the Village Voice Media network (including the L.A. Weekly).
DR. NEAL BAER is currently an executive producer and showrunner for the CBS television series Under The Dome and producer of If You Build It. Baer was also Executive Producer for NBC’s hit series, ER, as well as NBC’s Law & Order: Special Victims Unit.
JIM LANE‘s autobiographical film, I Am Not an Anthropologist, premiered at the Sundance Film Festival, and an experimental work, Lightplay, won several awards at U.S. film festivals. Lane is author of The Autobiographical Documentary.
Those familiar with Ed Pincus’ early work understand that the founder of the MIT film lab and author of THE FILMMAKER’S HANDBOOK (and GUIDE TO FILMMAKING) liked to challenge the norms of both content and form. From BLACK NATCHEZ (1967) and PANOLA (1969) to LIFE AND OTHER ANXIETIES (1977) and DIARIES: 1971-1976 (1980), risky experimentation and pushing against audience expectation was integral to Pincus’ filmmaking. In his seminal DIARIES, Pincus pushed even harder by filming his daily life, including his open marriage for five years. “The film caused fist fights in the audience,” Pincus used to say with a grin. DIARIES also inspired a generation of first person non-fiction filmmakers (such as his former student Ross McElwee) and laid the groundwork for the “personal doc” genre.
Fifteen years ago, after a 25-year hiatus, Pincus returned to filmmaking by teaming up with Lucia Small, who had just completed a successful festival run with her directorial debut, MY FATHER, THE GENIUS (2002), also a personal documentary. Having been unaware of Pincus’ work, Small recognized her artistic roots. She and Pincus shared similar sensibilities, aesthetics, and interests. Together, they set out to experiment and challenge the form of social issue documentaries with THE AXE IN THE ATTIC (2007). ONE CUT, ONE LIFE (2014) is a continuation of the experiment. One of the few personal non-fiction films ever told from two points of view, Small and Pincus seek to explore the notion of legacy through form rather than content. Pincus’ final film and collaboration with Small is as challenging as any before it, as much about life and living as it is about and illness and loss.