Richard Leacock Project (DRAFT CONCEPT on the occasion of Ricky's 80th birthday)
At the feet of the guru... Halibut Point July 21,2001
The Leacock Project is a plan to help Ricky acquire all the materials he needs to document his life's work.
It also aims to collect the impact of Ricky's work on the thousands of us whose lives have turned on our experiences with Ricky and his films.
Ricky's immediate goal is to create a collection of DVD's and a web site which will include annotated fragments from several important films that influenced his own films. It will also contain sequences (or complete copies where possible) of his films, plus an audio track with Ricky's commentary. Ricky and Valerie are editing Ricky's correspondence, and will illustrate events in the letters with excerpts from photos and appropriate films, including some home movies and his war footage.
The resulting collection will form the basis for a comprehensive history of cinematic technique, with special emphasis on the problem of shooting and editing synchronous sound, to which Ricky contributed as much as any filmmaker.
Ricky needs your help.
Please tell us what you can do. For example:
- You can help us all decide how best to help Ricky, volunteer to lead a section of the project, and oversee a part of this collaborative web site.
- To start, you can join the site as a member and add yourself to various work groups (Interest Groups). You will get emails from time to time on the progress of the Leacock Project.
- If you are at an institution that could provide support, you should try to set that in motion.
- You can aim a DV camera at yourself and tell us how Ricky affected your life. If you can provide specific footage (e.g., from a Leacock film) that illustrates the point please include it. MiniDV tapes are preferable. The Project will duplicate all DV tapes, send one copy to Ricky and archive the other at one of the supporting institutions. It will also transcribe the tapes for use on this web site.
- Have you ever or are you now making a documentary with footage of Ricky? Will you contribute it to the Project? Send us a MiniDV copy.
- Would you describe your work in a web page on this site with links to your work? Write something about Ricky and Post it to this web site. We will make you your own page for your comments. You will be able to edit your page with skyWriter links like those below, add images to it, etc.
- Do you have important still photos? Digitize them and send them to us as JPEG images. This site will have a way for you to easily upload them.
- Contribute some tools to Ricky's post-production environment. He needs a DVD recorder, MPEG2 encoding sofware, and DVD authoring software, for example.
- If you have these tools yourself, you could volunteer to do the encoding and get important sequences ready for Ricky's use.
- Ricky needs MiniDV copies of all his films. Rights to the films is another matter, which you may be willing and able to work on. This web site will list the status of all Leacock films. Each film will also have a separate workPage, with a threaded discussion group where you can make comments on the film itself and report progress on getting the film into Ricky's hands again, as well as converting it to MPEG2 and video streaming formats.
- When the Internet has big enough "pipes" to carry streaming video, the documentary and all his films will be streamable or downloadable from these pages.
- Ricky also needs decent copies of several films that he will cite as major influences. He probably has the right to excerpt these films for educational purposes, but if you can establish his rights, so much the better.
- If you can't think of anything else to do, you can send money. We hope to set up programs at non-profit institutions who can give you a tax deduction. Funds will be used to pay for film transfers, buy any necessary film rights, help Ricky get equipment, etc.
- Ricky is now thankfully independent of all the companies and granting institutions that funded his films. But he is not financially independent. You can help him to make this documentary of Leacock documentaries.
We imagine several aspects to the Leacock Project, which could be handled from institutions that owe so much to Ricky. Can you suggest other places?
Leacock at Harvard.
Leacock in New York. Leacock-Pennebaker Films.
Leacock at MIT.
Leacock and BFVF.
Leacock in Paris.
Imagine "The History of Cinema as seen through Ricky Leacock's Viewfinder."