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Primary is a 1960 Direct Cinema documentary film about the 1960 Wisconsin primary election between John F. Kennedy and Hubert Humphrey for the United States Democratic Party nomination for President of the United States.

Primary DVD.jpg
Produced byRobert Drew
Written byRobert Drew
StarringJohn F. Kennedy
Hubert Humphrey
CinematographyRichard Leacock
Albert Maysles
Edited byD. A. Pennebaker
Release date
  • 1960 (1960)
Running time
60 minutes
CountryUnited States

Produced by Robert Drew, shot by Richard Leacock and Albert Maysles, and edited by D. A. Pennebaker, the film was a breakthrough in documentary film style. Most importantly, through the use of mobile cameras and lighter sound equipment, the filmmakers were able to follow the candidates as they wound their way through cheering crowds, cram with them into crowded hotel rooms, and to hover around their faces as they awaited polling results. This resulted in a greater intimacy than was possible with the older, more classical techniques of documentary filmmaking; and it established what has since become the standard style of video reporting.

In 1990, the film was selected for preservation in the United States National Film Registry by the Library of Congress as being "culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant". The Academy Film Archive preserved Primary in 1998.[1] The film's importance in the evolution of documentary filmmaking was explored in the film Cinéma Vérité: Defining the Moment.[2]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ "Preserved Projects". Academy Film Archive.
  2. ^ Crow, Jonathan. "Cinema Verite: Defining the Moment (1999)". New York Times. Retrieved 24 November 2013.

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