Richard Avedon Film Series: Program 1

Related Exhibition Richard Avedon

Thursday, July 2, 2009, 7:00 p.m.
Saturday, July 4, 2009, 3:00 p.m.

Phyllis Wattis Theater

With a cinema verité commitment to capturing the life of the moment, Black Natchez filmmaker Pincus and sound engineer David Neuman track the embattled African American community in Natchez, Mississippi, in 1965. The community struggles against an active Ku Klux Klan and a complicit police force, juggling the oppositional strategies of the NAACP and emerging forms of more radical and confrontational politics. Curator Andy Ditzler described Black Natchez as "a study of the civil rights movement on the cusp of Black Power."

Drew, a LIFE magazine writer and editor, hoped to extend that magazine's documentary mandate to film and television. After his film Primary, a document of the 1960 Wisconsin Democratic primary between Hubert Humphrey and John F. Kennedy, he arranged to produce 12 30-minute films for ABC, including The Children Were Watching. Shot by Richard Leacock, the piece covers the fraught attempts to desegregate schools in New Orleans, as well as the determined if quiet heroes and boisterous villains these acts produced.

Additional Info

Black Natchez
Edward Pincus, 1965, 61 min., video

The Children Were Watching
Robert Drew, 1961, 21 min., 16mm

Image: Edward Pincus, Black Natchez (still), 1965; Photo courtesy of Ed Pincus and Third Branch Flower

SFMOMA thanks Alex Cherian, San Francisco Bay Area Television Archive film archivist, for his assistance and support of this program.