Chris Hegedus has been making films as a director, cinematographer and editor for more than 30 years. She received the 2001 Directors Guild of America Award for Outstanding Directorial Achievement for Startup.com. With her husband and partner, D A Pennebaker, she directed The War Room, which followed Bill Clinton’s 1992 presidential campaign. The film received an Academy Award® nomination and won the National Board of Review’s D.W. Griffith Award for Best Documentary. Hegedus has received the Golden Eagle CINE award and lifetime achievement awards from several organizations, including the International Documentary Association. In 2006, she directed Al Franken: God Spoke.
Hegedus first collaborated with Pennebaker as editor of Town Bloody Hall. Subsequent collaborations include DeLorean, Rockaby, the 1977 television series The Energy War and the acclaimed 1998 documentary Moon Over Broadway with Carol Burnett. Hegedus and Pennebaker have devoted much of their creative energies to films about music, including the features Depeche Mode 101, Down from the Mountain (a companion concert film to the Coen Brothers’ O Brother, Where Art Thou) and the soul musical tribute Only the Strong Survive. Recently, they made several political films for the Sundance Channel, including 2008’s The Return of the War Room and National Anthem: Inside the Vote for Change Concert Tour. Also for Sundance, Hegedus directed The First Amendment Project: Fox vs. Franken. Hegedus and Pennebaker live in New York City.
D A (Donn Alan) Pennebaker is widely regarded as one of the pioneers of cinéma vérité filmmaking. In the early 1960s, he and his colleague Richard Leacock developed one of the first fully portable 16mm synchronized camera and sound recording systems, which revolutionized filmmaking and introduced the immediate style of shooting so popular today. Pennebaker’s first film was the 1953 short Daybreak Express. In 1959, he joined Drew Associates, which produced the celebrated Living Camera series for Time-Life in the early 1960s.
In 1967, he made the classic Dont Look Back (sic), a memorable account of Bob Dylan’s last acoustic concert tour in England. Pennebaker continued to capture the musical moment in subsequent films, including Monterey Pop, Keep On Rockin’, Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars, and Company: Original Cast Album. He began his collaboration with his partner and future wife, Chris Hegedus, in 1976, co-directing such acclaimed films as Moon Over Broadway (1998) and The War Room (1993), which received an Academy Award® nomination and won the National Board of Review’s D.W. Griffith Award for Best Documentary. Pennebaker was executive producer of Startup.com and Al Franken: God Spoke, both directed by Hegedus. His many professional honors include the IFP’s Gotham Award.