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Lucia Small and Ed Pincus in ONE CUT, ONE LIFE

Lucia Small and Ed Pincus team up to film the end of his time on Earth in ONE CUT, ONE LIFE (photo by Danielle Morgan)

ONE CUT, ONE LIFE (Lucia Small & Ed Pincus, 2014)
IFC Center
323 Sixth Ave. at West Third St.
Opens Wednesday, May 13

When documentarian and flower farmer Ed Pincus, considered the father of first-person film, was diagnosed with a terminal illness, he did what he had done previously in his life: turn the camera on himself. Teaming up with Lucia Small (My Father, the Genius), with whom he had made the post-Katrina nonfiction film The Axe in the Attic in 2007, Pincus (Black Natchez, Diaries [1971–1976]) shared the intimate details of his story as they compiled what would become One Cut, One Life, named for a Japanese Aikido philosophy that means “Everything could be the last time,” “Everything counts,” “Everything has meaning.” Not everyone was thrilled with Pincus’s decision; in particular, Jane, his wife of fifty years, had severe reservations about his making a film with death on the horizon. But in her director’s statement, Small explains, “Rather than slowing us down, Ed’s illness created a flurry of creative work, as well as the impetus to delve into difficult emotional territory. We wrote [in a grant application], ‘When he is filming, he easily immerses himself into something productive, something that extends his creative life. Making another film offers a much-needed crucial distance from his potential fate.’” Pincus died in November 2013, but One Cut, One Life lives on, to show how he faced the end. The film opens Wednesday, May 13, at the IFC Center, and the first week will feature a series of special discussions at select shows. On May 13 at 7:15, “Celebrating Ed Pincus’s Life and Legacy: Pushing Boundaries — Up Close and Personal” brings together Small, Michel Negroponte, Marco Williams, and moderator Tom Roston. On May 14 at 7:15, Small, Nina Davenport, and Judith Helfand will delve into “Female Voice and First Person Non-Fiction.” On May 15 at 7:50, Liz Giamatti will talk about “The Art of Collaboration: Trauma, Loss, and Creative Partnership.” The 7:50 screening on May 18 will be followed by a Q&A with Small. And on May 19 at 7:50, Judith Schwarz explores “The Reality of Being Mortal: End of Life, Quality of Life, and Navigating Options.”

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