EYE ON THE 60s is an authentic piece of American History… an intimate portrait of former LIFE photographer Rowland Scherman and how his photographic eye captured the essence of America's most remarkable decade. Experience candid recollections with seldom seen moments of major celebrities, politicians, and breathtaking events. Follow the path of a self-driven man who became the first Peace Corps photographer, an insider to the Kennedy and Shriver families, and who created an astounding record of The March On Washington. Travel with Scherman through time to witness the young Bob Dylan, The Beatles, Arthur Ashe, Barbara Walters, Joni Mitchell, and Judy Collins. From Washington, D.C. to the site of the 1969 Woodstock Festival-- and to the healing vistas of Cape Cod, EYE ON THE 60s is the story of a man that despite technological change and the great passage of time, moves in a space of peace, humor, and hope… while remaining forever driven by the need to create.
ABOUT THE FILM
Director Chris Szwedo met photographer Rowland Scherman in August 2011 after being introduced by Orleans, MA Artworks Gallery when Szwedo happened upon the gallery by accident. The director, a young child in the 1960s whose life was shaped by the decade, was instantly motivated to make a film about the journeys of the free-spirited Scherman, who had remarkable access to a wide range of celebrities and events of the era. However, time was of the essence, as within three weeks the 50th Anniversary of the Peace Corps was to be held in Washington, D.C.—an event critical to the story. The Peace Corps was the first important stop in Scherman's storied career. An immediate decision was to go to D.C. and begin the project.
Following the initial filming, Szwedo and Scherman began the close and challenging collaboration that has produced a remarkable, poignant film full of memories, of change, and in the making sense of the long passages of time that form the human experience.
From the outset, Szwedo was determined to capture the essence of Scherman's creative eye, and to provide the project the proper context. To do so, he enlisted the on-screen presence of former LIFE Washington Bureau Chief Richard B. Stolley, and legendary singer Judy Collins-- the subject of Scherman's 1969 LIFE essay.
The film was shot in locations in Washington, D.C., Newport, RI, Boston, MA, Bethel, NY (site of the 1969 Woodstock Festival), New York City, Berkeley, CA, Santa Fe, NM, and the stunning coastal terrain of Outer Cape Cod.
The film was created from concept to completion in fourteen months, including the original musical score-- written and performed by Chris Szwedo, with an assist in specific scenes from versatile Boston-based singer-songwriter-guitarist Daniel Byrnes, whose poetic "Fourth of July" sets the initial tone. Monica Rizzio of Tripping Lily also appears in a duet with Byrnes. Szwedo also sings an original, the moody "Available Light", which appears early in the film.
Says Szwedo, "The goal of the film all along was to produce a work that would honor Rowland and his talent, his journey, and to provide another valid context for that amazing decade. We feel that we have a film that resonates with many people, as his story is very personal—from someone who was there, and who came away with this wonderful, eternal imagery. Although we're all mortal, photography is not and therein lies the power of EYE ON THE 60s."