R. J. Cutler on Film & Television

Retrospective Screenings of Select Works Chosen by the Filmmaker

First of all, I want to thank Pat Mitchell, Craig Hitchcock, and Rene Reyes of The Paley Center for Media for inviting me to participate in this series. This is a particular honor, as the Paley Center has served as such a valuable resource for me over the years. It was at New York’s Paley Center, in fact, back in 1992 (when it was called The Museum of Television & Radio) that I first discovered the classic Drew Associates documentary Crisis, the story of Jack and Bobby Kennedy’s showdown with then-Governor George Wallace over Wallace’s refusal to allow African-American students to register at the University of Alabama. I remember sitting in the viewing booth, watching this 1963 film with amazement, moved to tears. That film became my inspiration for making a movie about the 1992 presidential election, indeed for my entire filmmaking career. Without the exhaustive resources of the Paley Center, it’s a film I might never have seen.

As filmmaking is the most collaborative of art forms, I could not participate in a series like this without acknowledging the dozens of filmmaking partners with whom I have worked since I started making movies, many of whom formed the core of my production company Actual Reality Pictures.

For this series, I have selected some of my favorite films and television programs and I have separated them into four categories: Nonfiction Drama Series, Formatted Shows, Television Documentaries, and Theatrical Documentaries. I hope you'll come to the Paley Center in Los Angeles to watch.

—R. J. Cutler