Hart Perry


During the last 30 years working as a filmmaker, Hart Perry has carved out three distinct reputations: social and music documentarian, cameraman and artist. In 1969 he was the youngest cameraman at the legendary Woodstock music festival and in 1970 he directed his first music video, "Alice Cooper." Twenty years later he produced "Fight the Power Live," the first Public Enemy longform video. In 1977 he shot the Academy Award-winning Harlan County: USA with Barbara Kopple, and in the 80s shot Kopple’s "American Dream,” which also won an Academy Award. In 1992 he teamed up with Jonathan Demme to make Haiti:Killing the Dream, a film about the rise and deposing of peoples' hero, Jean-Claude Aristide. Says Hart, who was a student at Columbia University during the rebellions of the late 60s:

"Music and politics are twin passions that have always moved me as a filmmaker."

Unsurprisingly, some of Hart's favorite projects have been those that combined music and politics. John Hammond: From Bessie Smith to Bruce Springsteen (1989) was a Peabody Award-winning film biography of the seminal music critic and producer with a social conscience, who was an early advocate of integration in popular music and society.

Hart Perry
A few years earlier, Hart co-produced "The Making of Sun City," a Grammy-nominated documentary devoted to the efforts of a group of popular musicians to organize a performers' boycott of apartheid-era South Africa. "Sun City" was followed by Hart's launching of Danny Schechter’s "South Africa Now," the Polk Award-winning public television series that breached South Africa's international news blackout.
When MTV started in the 80s, Hart’s music videos found a wider audience. Later with his wife, Dana Perry, he pioneered music documentaries that looked behind the music. These include the five-part VH1 retrospective The Seventies (1996), the four-part ABC Television celebration Motown 40 (1998), Rhythm, Country, and Blues (1996), which examined the common musical and social ground occupied by black and white musicians who in their youth were segregated, and the Cable Ace Award winning Leonard Bernstein’s New York.

During this time Hart also pursued art projects. In the 70s he received a Guggenheim Fellowship for the invention of a holographic film process. His holograms of computer generated images produced in the early 70s were innovative and have been widely exhibited. In addition he produced holograms for Salvador Dali and the Mabou Mines.


"Imagining America: Icons of 20th Century American Art" two hour PBS series with Jonathan Fineberg, John Carlin and Muse Film and Television. Distributed by PMI.
"Valley Of Tears", a documentary about civil rights struggles by Mexican/Americans migrant farm workers in a South Texas town. Distributed by 7th Arts Releasing
"Haiti: Killing the Dream", about the Haitian coup against Bertrand Aristide. PBS September '92. Presented by Jonathan Demme, selected for the New York and Berlin Film Festivals and First Prize at the Latin American and San Juan Festivals.
"John Hammond: From Bessie Smith To Bruce Springsteen", a biography about the man credited with integrating popular music. American Masters, PBS (Winner of Peabody Award, Cine Golden Eagle and London Film Festival). '90
"The Gipsy Kings", (broadcast June 1996 PBS). Through telling the story of the popular world music group the Gipsy Kings, the documentary celebrates gypsy music and history.
"Bernstein's New York". '97, features Broadway stars performing the music from Bernstein's New York related musicals like "West Side Story". Winner CABLE ACE Best Cultural Program.
"Rhythm, Country & Blues", duets between legendary country and R &B artists with a civil rights subtext (Monitor Award Best Director), '94
"The Making of Sun City", about anti apartheid protest by musicians. Nominated for a Grammy, and International Documentary Association Award. '85
Vietnam Veterans Against The War, about a peace march and civil disobedience. 10 minutes. PBS American Dream Machine. '71

Documentary Series

• And You Don't Stop: 30 Years in the History of Hip Hop, VH1 '04 five hours series, Produced by Perry Films and Dana Heinz Perry
Motown 40 a four-hour examination of the history and influence of Motown for ABC Television celebrating the 40th anniversary of Motown Records. Broadcast February, 1998.
• A five part music documentary series "The '70's" for VH1, August 1996. Produced by Perry Films and Dana Heinz Perry. The programs show how the music of the decade reflected the politics of the era, feminism, the growth of the music business, the disco fad and the changing civil rights frontier.

Documentary Cinematography

Harlan County:U.S.A. A feature documentary on a coal miner strike in Appalachia. Academy Award. '77, Directed by Barbara Kopple
American Dream, feature documentary on union busting, Academy Award, '91. Directed by Barbara Kopple
• Additional camera Woodstock, the counter culture event. Academy Award, '69. Directed by Michael Wadleigh

Music videos, longforms and programs

• Music videos and longforms: Aerosmith ( two platinum homevideos), Alice Cooper (Schools Out, Elected, VH1 Concert), Public Enemy (Fight the Power, Platinum homevideo), Blondie ("The Tide is High"), Stetsasonic (Monitor Award - Best Director), Little Steven (Best video AVFA), Jackson Browne ( 1st Prize Latin American Film Festival), Scorpions (Platinum Homevideo), Sun City ( co/director, Best video of year - Rolling Stone) and Co/Director of Peter Gabriel's concert longform, "POV", nominated for MTV and a Grammy awards. Peter Gabriel's peace concert benefit "Hurricane Irene" featuring Lou Reed and Jackson Browne among others. (Monitor Award Editing, MTV) "Rhythms of the World" world music performances hosted by Peter Gabriel, PBS. '93

Art Work and Experimental Films

Hartigan, a short experimental film about the painter Grace Hartigan. '69
The Rest Is Silence a short documentary about the Spanish sculptor Martin Chirino. '72
The Birth of Venus an experimental computer animated short, PBS. '74
• Awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship ('75) and NEA grants for the invention of a holographic film printer. The resulting holographic artwork has been widely exhibited in museums and art galleries.
• Production of holograms for Salvador Dali, Milton Glazer, Mabou Mimes, Agam and other artists.
Laurie Anderson and Clone, producer for segments in "Live from Off-Center", PBS. '91


Jesse Jackson Peace Mission to Kosovo, 20/20 ABC, producer with Jon Alpert
"Real World Week" for the BBC '92, about world music artists collaborating and recording with artists like Peter Gabriel and Sinead O'Connor. '92
"The Vatican Concert to Commemorate The Holocaust" for Great Performances, PBS with the London Philharmonic orchestra and holocaust survivors.
• Two episodes of "Trauma: Life in the E.R." for The Learning Channel, fall '97.
• Two episodes "Paramedics", spring '99, TLC
The Human Canvas, Spring 2000, TLC
• Consulting producer and founder with Danny Shechter of the public television series "South Africa Now", hosted by Charlyn Hunter Gault (156 half hour shows) Polk Award.


Guggenheim Fellowship, Peabody Award, International Documentary Association, Cable Ace, (2)Cine Golden Eagle, AIVF, (2) Grammy Nomination and (2) Monitor Awards for Best Director. Selected by New York Film Festival, London Film Festival, Berlin Film Festival, Houston Film Festival, Human Rights Film Festival and First Prize Latin American Film Festival. Three Emmy Awards (local) for cinematography. Cinematography for three feature documentaries which won Academy Awards and for documentary short which won Columbia Dupont and Polk Award.


• Columbia College, BA '69 Art History and MFA Columbia University '71,
Adjunct Associate Professor Columbia University '71 -' 75, Assistant Professor
York College CUNY '73 - '75, Adjunct Professor NYU '94-'95.

Perry Films
Hart's photos by Nancy Campbell