To imagine, write and direct a story for the silver screen, photograph and edit it on film, is what filmmaking is all about. There are very few filmmakers that have been able to live this dream. The technology of film has been exploited from the beginning to make stupendous amounts of money. The people that got involved with the film industry in the early days could not allow just anybody to get their hands on the technology. The propaganda power of film was so tremendous that only a select few could make it to the top. Politics played a huge role in who would be able to exhibit their movies and who would not. That's all understandable. Later when the technology became available to thousands of people around the world, as filmmakers from everywhere scrambled to make movies in different languages, the US film industry centralized itself in Hollywood and began its dominance over movie distribution.
The film industry is relatively young and few individuals were able to make personally conceived movies as artists. The realities of the medium were just too formidable to be mastered by one individual, but a few did manage to overcome all obstacles and put their own personal stamp on their movies. These were directors who managed to find a spot for themselves within the film industry of their respective countries. My favorite filmmakers were Griffith, Eisenstein and Fellini. Everyone has their own favorite directors. What's most important for the filmmaker is having control over the essential elements of a movie, namely the writing, producing, directing, filming, and editing.
When I started out shooting movies in the late sixties, it was possible for me to control all the elements of filmmaking. I bought the film stock, the sound tape and a camera and began writing my first screenplay for a feature film. It took me years to realize that making 35mm films for the theatrical market was not just a matter of having the talent, the equipment, the resources and the skill. There were tremendous political implications that were not quite apparent. You could make a movie, but who would release it? For example, the first screenplay I wrote was based on my own heritage. When I submitted the screenplay to one of the major studios in Hollywood, I was told, "the screenplay is interesting, but this is propaganda -- why should we finance it?" I was flabbergasted. I thought it was enough that the screenplay was compelling, that it was a great story. I came to realize that if I were to make movies the way I wanted, I had to have my own money. Of course, I would have to consider who would buy them and how I could get audiences to see them. For me filmmaking is easy, it's show business that's hard. I keep trying because I'm a filmmaker and I know how to control the five elements of filmmaking. I believe in my God given talents and my freedom as an American filmmaker. I want to express myself as an artist.
Index | Fellini | Producer | Director | Production | Distribution |