Eagle Pennell, an independent film director and inspiration for the Sundance Film Institute, was born Glenn Irwin Pinnell on July 28, 1952, in Andrews, Texas. As an adult he changed his last name to honor film director Arthur Penn and Lt. Ross Pennell, a character in the movie She Wore a Yellow Ribbon (1949). He grew up in College Station where his father Charles taught civil engineering at Texas A&M University. His mother June recalled him as a child filming skits performed by his sisters with a Super 8 camera. After graduating from Texas A&M Consolidated High School Pennell attended the University of Texas in Austin where he majored in radio-television-film before dropping out in his junior year. He worked for a company that produced highlights of Southwest Conference football games and as a crew member on the cult film, The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (1974).
Determined to direct films himself, Pennell began shooting a short feature entitled Hell of a Note which premiered… read more