Legendary Haskell Wexler died yesterday, 93 years old. Long obituaries giving information on his impressive career are to be found in Hollywwod Reporter, Variety and Indiewire (links below), several FB friends salute his strong contribution to film history and social documentary.
I met Wexler briefly at the American Documentary Film Festival in Palm Springs this year in March. He was on stage with colleagues, one of them being Joan Churchill, who is currently making ”My Dinner With Haskell” – here is a short quote from her website:
“My Dinner with Haskell” is a feature length documentary about the legendary cinematographer and inspirational activist filmmaker, Haskell Wexler, who we follow over a 2 year period as he interacts with the people & events in his life, using his influence to promote his message of social justice and hope, both within & outside of the Hollywood system…
A clip was shown from that upcoming film with Churchill herself behind the camera and Wexler and Pennebaker in debate about “to set up scenes or not to set up scenes”, the latter making films according to what was formulated in the prologue to the seminar by Robert Drew’s son: recording life as it happens, whereas Wexler said the vérité films – another word frequently used over there in the US – is all fiction, somebody’s fiction, ”a lot of what I did in “Medium Cool” was scripted.”
The 93 year old Haskell Wexler was wonderful in Palm Springs, concluding the session by saying ”forget about How and Technique, what matters is Why”.
I took the photo of Wexler (left) and the organiser of the memorable seminar, colleague of Wexler cinematographer Fred Goodrich.