LAEMMLE MUSIC HALL in Los Angeles on June 12
"This film is the culmination of my life's work." - Ed Pincus
When seminal documentary filmmaker Ed Pincus (Black Natchez, Diaries (1971-1976), The Axe in the Attic), considered the father of first-person nonfiction film, is diagnosed with a terminal illness, he and his collaborator Lucia Small (My Father, The Genius, The Axe in the Attic) team up to make one last film. One Cut, One Life is an intense, frank and sometimes humorous exploration of the human condition that invites the viewer to contemplate what is important, not only at the end of life, but through all phases of live and creative pursuits.
Before his death in November 2013, Ed and Lucia fulfilled their long-discussed idea for a personal documentary told from two separate points of view – two filmmakers, two worlds. This final collaboration –fueled by an urgent certainty– navigates discussions of mortality, love, loss and legacy with palpable vulnerability and piercing intimacy rarely seen in non-fiction. From the perspectives of their different backgrounds, generations, genders, and classes, each filmmaker captures the challenging and delicate territory of Ed's unfolding illness, Lucia's bereavement in the wake of the sudden, violent deaths of two close friends, along with Ed's wife Jane's on-again, off-again resistance to the project.
Both filmmakers commit to including the disturbing and squeamish aspects inherent in their endeavor, and in doing so, provoke questions about what might be too private to be made public. In this unified effort, they pursue a shared ideal that autobiographical film can challenge comfortable assumptions about limits of propriety and good taste, and perhaps overthrow them. Through their all-out commitment to the film and their friendship, One Cut, One Life gives the viewer access not only to what the film meant to its creators, to their bodies of work, and to first-person nonfiction film, but also to the daring and fiery impulses of human creativity.
Although many young filmmakers today may not know his name, Ed Pincus is considered a pioneer of documentary filmmaking, particularly in the first-person autobiographical form. A Brooklyn street kid who eventually made his way to the Ivy League, Ed founded the MIT Film Lab in the late 60s, which became a hub of innovative and groundbreaking work and sparked a generation of critical filmmakers. Known for his innovations in film and technical contributions to the field, Ed is also the author of Guide to Filmmaking which evolved into The Filmmaker's Handbook (co-authored with Steven Ascher) a key textbook in film studies programs nationwide. Ed made several social issue, direct cinema films, including Black Natchez and Panola before embarking on his magnum opus: Diaries (1971-1976), an exploration of his open marriage and life during this time. At the peak of his film career, Ed abruptly left his community in Cambridge, MA and moved his family to Vermont. Eventually, Ed gave up filmmaking entirely and started a commercial flower farm which he ran for over 20 years before a chance meeting with Lucia compelled him to return to film.
Lucia Small, 25 years Ed's junior, is a former artist and activist turned documentary filmmaker. A Californian native, Lucia moved to Boston in the early nineties where she worked as a producer, editor, and assistant director in both fiction and non-fiction film. In late 2002, after a successful festival run with her directorial documentary debut My Father, The Genius, she and Ed met while on a film jury. For four days, they watched and judged films and discovered similar sensibilities despite their diverse paths and histories. Ed was excited to meet a person of a younger generation who was not afraid to venture into provocative and risky artistic endeavors. Self-taught, Lucia was excited to befriend the former teacher of several of her Boston mentors. Shortly thereafter, Ed approached Lucia with a plan – he wanted to start making films again with her. Was she in? Three years later, they combined forces to make The Axe In The Attic, a film about the Diaspora of Hurricane Katrina, which premiered at the New York Film Festival in 2007. From 2007 until early 2013, Lucia lived and worked in New York City before she decided to relocate to Vermont to edit One Cut, One Life with Ed. Five months after his death, the film premiered at the Full Frame Documentary Film Festival and, later that fall, at the 52nd New York Film Festival 2014.
INTERVIEWS ARE AVAILABLE
"Complex and intimate... No-holds-barred first-person filmmaking"
- Tom Roston, The New York Times
"Embraces all the joy, messiness, creativity, and tragedy of their friendship with almost unbearable intimacy and aesthetic clarity" - Ty Burr and Peter Keough, Boston Globe
"An intense, intimate, inescapable experience...You suffer, you laugh at the ironies, suddenly you're being gut-punched, and just as suddenly you find yourself smiling again"
- Peter Davis, Director of
Hearts and Minds
"Lyrical, profound, and in places unexpectedly humorous. A moving tribute to a great documentary filmmaker - Ed Pincus - by another gifted documentary filmmaker- Lucia Small."
- Ross McElwee, Director of Sherman's March and Time Indefinite
Watch the trailer >>
One Cut, One Life
2014, USA, Documentary, English, 105 minutes, Digital
Directed by Lucia Small and Ed Pincus
Producers: Mary Kerr
Assistant Producer and Associate Editor: Danielle Morgan