Primary (1960): Essential Documentary about Humphrey-Kennedy 1960 Campaign for Democratic Nomination

Produced by Robert Drew, shot by Richard Leacock and Albert Maysles, and edited by D. A. Pennebaker, Primary concerns the 1960 Wisconsin Primary Election between John F. Kennedy and Hubert Humphrey for the Democratic Party nomination for US Presidency.

The film was a breakthrough in the strategy and style of documentary filmmaking, introducing a new and innovative mode known as direct cinema or cinema verite.

Using mobile cameras and lighter sound equipment enabled he filmmakers to follow the candidates as they make speeches to cheering crowds or specialized groups, cram with them into crowded hotel rooms, and hover around their faces as they eagerly await the polling results.

This resulted in a greater intimacy between the film’s subject and the viewers, changing the ways of the more traditional documentary filmmaking.

In 1990, the film was designated by the National Film Registry of the Library of Congress for being “culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant.”