MoMA presents the first New York retrospective devoted to the leading American documentary filmmaker Charlotte Zwerin, whose portraits of visual and performing artists like Christo, Willem De Kooning, Ella Fitzgerald, and Arshile Gorky are richly textured and revealing. The Detroit-born Zwerin was early on inspired more by newsreels than theatrical narratives. She established a film club at Wayne State, later worked at CBS News, and then joined Drew Associates, the filmmaking group that pioneered “direct cinema” in America. At Drew she met David and Albert Maysles and began making documentaries with them, including three significant films in this retrospective: Salesman (1969), Gimme Shelter (1970), and Running Fence (1978). Since then, Zwerin has also worked in the documentary units of ABC and NBC, and has been a producer at PBS.

Organized by Laurence Kardish and Bruce Ricker, independent distributor and programmer of jazz films.

The Department of Film and Media thanks Maysles Films, Cort Productions, Direct Cinema, Alternate Current (Margaret Smilow), and American Masters (Susan Lacy) for the loan of exhibition copies, and Kate Hirson for her assistance.

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