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  • Q&A with New York Film Academy (NYFA) Alum Fatima Al Taei

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    New York Film Academy (NYFA) alum Fatima Al Taei stars in Justice, the procedural drama set in Abu Dhabi that is now available on Netflix. The 18-part legal series originally premiered on OSN HD in 2017 and is now available for streaming with subtitles in 20 different languages.

    Al Taei first attended NYFA in 2009 in Abu Dhabi. Since then, she has gained steady work as an actress, including a lead role in When the Autumn Blooms, Saudi Arabia’s first longform drama series.

    Justice (Qalb Al Adala) was created by Oscar nominee Walter Parkes (He Named Me Malala) and Emmy award-winning producer William Finkelstein (LA Law) and was filmed and produced in Abu Dhabi by Image Nation and Beelink Productions. The story follows a passionate lawyer, Farah, who rebels against her father’s firm and sets out on her own to become a defense attorney. 

    Netflix Justice

    The series uses actual cases from the Abu Dhabi Judicial Department as a basis for their stories, and was directed by Ahmed Khalid. In a recent Harper’s Bazaar Arabia piece, Al Taei’s character was called a “strong, ambitious” lead”—an important milestone for female representation on television in the Middle East.

    New York Film Academy spoke with alum Fatima Al Taei about her experiences at NYFA and filming her culturally important lead role in Justice:

    New York Film Academy (NYFA): What did you learn at NYFA that you applied directly to your work on Justice?

    Fatima Al Taei: When I was learning at NYFA, they made sure not to tie me into a specific technique—they taught us different ways to get into the character and it helped me in different situations during the shoot, being flexible and open yet focused and specific.

    Also, they taught me how to deal with other actors and directors. NYFA was a lab for me, with great helpful tutors!

    NYFA: Can you speak a little about your experience playing a strong, ambitious Emirati woman? Do you see yourself as a role model for other Emirati women?

    Fatima Al Taei: It was a unique experience. We had the opportunity to shoot inside actual courtrooms, because all the cases are based on true events.

    Playing a strong Emirati woman is the same to me as playing any “strong woman,” an inspiration for all women to follow what they believe in no matter what kind of pressure they may be under. So it’s not only for Emirati women, but for all women. 

    NYFA: What advice would you give to students just starting out at NYFA?

    Fatima Al Taei: NYFA will teach you so many things. You will be surrounded by people who have the same passion, which is good networking as a start. 

    But NYFA will not do the job you have to do—you have to secure your dream and make it happen. If it takes months or years, studying at NYFA won’t be a waste unless you give up. Many students disappeared after graduation because they didn’t have enough patience and didn’t want to get out of their comfort zone.

    The industry is not much in interested in your specific acting techniques (these are your tools.) If the industry is interested in “You” they will work with you—your attitude and passion is important, so MAKE THEM WANT TO WORK WITH YOU.

    The New York Film Academy congratulates actress and alum Fatima Al Taei on her success and encourages everyone to check out her legal drama Justice on Netflix! 

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    March 1, 2019 • Acting, Student & Alumni Spotlights • Views: 2074

  • Gold Coast’s Village Roadshow Studios Hosting New Major Co-Production

    FacebooktwitterredditpinterestlinkedinmailFilming has begun on the largest Chinese-Australian co-production ever, and with the project Australia’s Gold Coast continues its importance to the film industry as a whole. Students at New York Film Academy (NYFA) Gold Coast are reaping the rewards by learning their craft in the heart of Gold Coast as more and more major movies are shot around them.

    Legend of Sun and Moon, based on a famous Chinese legend, will star Dililreba Dilmurat and Dao Xiao, and—unlike most Hollywood blockbusters—will be written and directed by a woman, Eva Jin. The film will be financed, produced, and distributed by a collaboration of Chinese and Australian companies, with assistance from the Queensland government’s film programs.

    While Hollywood may be most associated with the film industry, plenty of other cities and nations provide hundreds of films each year to audiences all around the world. The Chinese film industry in particular has been steadily growing for a long time, with many co-productions with other countries proliferating since the early 21st century successes of films like Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon and Hero. Chinese cinema is now one of the largest film industries in the world.

    While Australia’s film industry isn’t as large as America’s or China’s, it has played an important role in co-productions, offering a wide array of spacious landscapes and consistently pleasant weather that originally attracted film productions to similar climates like Los Angeles. Plenty of Hollywood blockbusters are shot on location or in soundstages in Australia, including in Sydney and in Queensland, such as Thor: Ragnarok, The Matrix, The Wolverine, Kong: Skull Island, and Mission: Impossible 2. 

    Many productions in Australia are supported by government organizations and programs, including Screen Queensland and the Production Attraction Strategy. This not only bolsters Australian cinema but fosters jobs and growth for the community. According to Screen Queensland CEO Tracey Vieira, “Legend of Sun and Moon will provide approximately 300 jobs and spend over $15.3 million in Queensland.” The film will shoot at Village Roadshow Studios, one of Australia’s foremost production facilities, which consists of nine sound stages. 

    NYFA Gold Coast

    Village Roadshow Studios

    The use of Village Roadshow Studios is also one of the biggest advantages to studying at NYFA Gold Coast. In addition to being amidst Hollywood productions and a working international film studio, NYFA Gold Coast students also study and can shoot their own films on a professional backlot.

    Located at Southport, the NYFA Gold Coast campus also has a two-level, state-of-the-art facility for students to use, situated in an ideal, convenient space close to light rail transport and student service amenities such as libraries, cafes, restaurants, shopping centers, and immigration services. In addition, the facility is located directly across from the Gold Coast Broadwater, with a popular waterfront promenade, large estuary, and attractive parklands that make for perfect filming locations. 

    Not too far from the campus are other diverse, incredible filming locations that students can use for their productions. Gold Coast has fifty miles of coastline and is considered a surfer’s paradise, while also home to tropical rainforests, rugged country, exciting and epic theme parks, and a modern cityscape. Additionally, the capital city of Brisbane is just a short drive away, with its museums, artistic attractions, and other cultural opportunities in students’ reach.

    NYFA Gold Coast

    NYFA Gold Coast Students

    Along with its stunning locales and modern facilities, NYFA Gold Coast offers students the experience and guidance of a talented, knowledgeable faculty. Many of the chairs and instructors have industry awards and illustrious credits including House of Flying Daggers, Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, Meet the Robinsons, Mako: Island of Secrets, Inspector Gadget 2, The Dark Knight Rises, Rocky Balboa, Moneyball, Don’t Be Afraid of the Dark, and many, many more. These faculty members work closely with NYFA’s students throughout the entirety of their courses.

    With such close proximity to a talented faculty, state-of-the-art facilities, the Hollywood grandeur of Village Roadshow Studios, and the majestic scenery of Queensland, New York Film Academy Gold Coast students are in perfect position to achieve their dreams of acting in and making movies. Legend of Sun and Moon will no doubt be followed by even more and even bigger international productions in the Gold Coast, and NYFA students will get to see it firsthand.

    If you’re interested in studying at New York Film Academy Gold Coast, you can find more information here.

    NYFA Gold Coast

    NYFA Gold Coast Students

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    July 6, 2018 • Entertainment Australia, Entertainment News • Views: 1674

  • ‘Strangers on a Train’ to Get a New Look

    Facebooktwitterredditpinterestlinkedinmailstrangers on a trainWhile there are always mixed feelings about remaking classic cinema, it’s certainly a plus knowing talent like Ben Affleck and David Fincher are attached to Warner’s newest venture, Hitchcock’s Strangers on a Train. The idea for the remake had been kicking around for some time, but after the box-office success of Gone Girl, the green-light was a no-brainer.

    The film will be produced by Affleck and Matt Damon’s Pearl Street under the title Strangers. Not only will the title get an facelift, the story will as well. Rather than taking place on a train, Affleck will play a movie star (not a far stretch for him) in the middle of an Oscar campaign during awards season. After his private plane breaks down, he is given a ride to Los Angeles on another plane by a wealthy stranger…cue the twist.

    Despite Affleck’s hectic schedule — directing and starring in the Dennis Lehane novel adaptation Live By Night in the spring and starring in Justice League in 2016 —  Strangers will be going the fast-track route.

    Given Fincher’s stellar filmography as a director with films like Fight Club, Seven, and Gone Girl, we’re anxious to see how well he’ll pull of the twist in this Hitchcock classic.Facebooktwitterredditpinterestlinkedinmail

    January 14, 2015 • Entertainment News • Views: 3090

  • San Francisco Indie DocFest

    FacebooktwitterredditpinterestlinkedinmailSF IndieFest

    Here is a festival we came across that is a wonderful opportunity for New York Film Academy documentary students. Established by Jeff Ross in 2001, the San Francisco DocFest is an annual two week-long event that brings all aspects of real life to the big screen and is entirely devoted to documentary cinema. Last year’s SF Indiefest events brought in over 21,000 film and event goers. The 2014 festival will run from June 15-19th.

    “Docfest offers a zippy blend of politics, music, social issues and youth-oriented subcultures. The good news is that DocFest promotes documentaries as a vibrant, irreverent form of entertainment to a younger demographic, blasting the notion of educational films to smithereens. There’s no room for anything approximating — watch it, I’m about to blaspheme – the obsessively measured and utterly somnambulant musings of Ken Burns.”  – Michael Fox, KQED

    The SF DocFest is now accepting submissions — Regular Deadline is March 15th.

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    December 9, 2013 • Documentary Filmmaking, Film Festivals • Views: 3526

  • ‘Broken City’ Director of Photography Chats at NYFA Union Square

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    Last week, the New York Film Academy in Union Square hosted an exclusive Guest Speaker event with Cinematographer, Ben Seresin. Ben has been a member of the British Society of Cinematographers (BSC) since 2010, and the American Society of Cinematographers (ASC) since 2011. He has worked on the films Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen, World War Z, Pain & Gain, and more. With over twenty years in the business, Ben has worked with many of Hollywood’s top directors. Recently, blockbuster director, Michael Bay, has chosen to work with Ben on Transformers and Pain & Gain.

    On Wednesday, NYFA screened Ben’s film, Broken City, an action thriller starring Mark Wahlberg and Russell Crowe. While the movie sounds like a big Hollywood film, Ben says he had to work on a bit of a low budget. He admitted having to film major scenes in the course of a day. His goal was to shoot the noir in a contemporary way and to make New York City feel more like a home, as opposed to the glorified movie set it is so often portrayed as. Ben also noted that Russell Crowe was the most technical actor he’s ever worked with. “He had a great sense of the camera.”

    benseresin2

    One of the topics of the conversation between Ben and moderator John Loughlin was overshooting a scene, or allowing oneself to get wrapped up in the mechanics of filmmaking while on set. “Having a safe option can potentially be damaging,” said Seresin. “Compromises can be made if you over cover a scene. It can then be edited in many ways.” Ben added, “There’s a mechanical element that can distract you from film making. It’s dangerous if you get caught up in the mechanics. You lose sight of what’s really important.”

    His advice in avoiding this potentially damaging aspect of film making, “Try to stay detached. Be relaxed. Do not be stressed and trust your eyes.”

    Ben hopes to diversify his upcoming projects as he loves exploring all genres of cinema. We look forward to seeing more great work from Ben!

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    August 5, 2013 • Cinematography, Guest Speakers • Views: 6856

  • ‘Midnight Cowboy’ DP Screens ‘The Panic in Needle Park’

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    Screen Shot 2013-04-03 at 12.17.54 PM

    NYFA Cinematography Chair John Loughlin with Adam Holender

    This Tuesday, the New York Film Academy in Union Square welcomed cinematographer, Adam Holender. His most notable credit is Director of Photography on the 1969 classic, Midnight Cowboy, starring Dustin Hoffman and Jon Voight. Adam suggested we screen another classic from 1971, starring the then unknown Al Pacino. The Panic in Needle Park is a stark portrayal of life among a group of heroin addicts who hang out in New York City’s “Needle Park.” The film was a part of the early 1970’s cinéma-vérité. Adam’s use of hand-held cameras, real-life urban location, sounds and lack of traditional soundtrack set the tone for a new style of realism. According to Adam, the film was shot primarily on-location in forty-three days.

    Living mere blocks away from the main location of the film up on 71st and Broadway, Adam and his director, Jerry Schatzberg, spent months in New York City diligently preparing for production. “Pre-production is the most important part of the process,” said Adam.

    Coming up in a time when film was meant to be gritty and real, Adam admits digital filmmaking is the obvious wave of the future. “If people have something to say, it really doesn’t matter if it’s digital or film,” admitted Adam. Though, he does feel a certain loss of intimacy between the cinematographer and the actors’ performance when shooting digitally as opposed to 35mm.

    When asked by a student if he typically criticizes his films or often thinks about “going back and making changes,” Adam said, “Your work is really never finished. It’s only abandoned.” Wise words from a DP with a long and successful career in the industry.

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    April 10, 2013 • Guest Speakers • Views: 6683

  • Nollywood Star Gives Back

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    After her successful debut as writer, director and producer of the award-winning film “Through the Glass,” A-List Nollywood actress Stephanie Okereke-Linus, a graduate of the New York Film Academy film school, is working on a new film-making project, titled “Dry,” that will further her mission of helping victims of vesico vaginal fistula (VVF). The feature film is the latest in Okereke-Linus’ myriad endeavors, which also include international acclaim as a model, style icon, and winner of the 2008 Beyond the Tears Humanitarian Award for her work against rape and VVF. VVF are holes resulting from a breakdown between the vaginal wall and the bladder or rectum, usually caused by days of a baby struggling to fit through the birth canal. In “Dry,” Okereke-Linus tells the story of two young girls trying to survive in a world of rejection and hopelessness brought on by their condition.

    The film will raise funds to pay for VVF surgery and rehabilitation, and after its premiere, a mobile movie theatre will take it to African villages and towns, particularly those where VVF patients reside. Okereke-Linus has earned a reputation as Africa’s foremost actress, especially in Nollywood, the Nigerian film industry, which The New York Times reported to be the world’s third largest. In 2002, she became a household name in Nigeria for her performance in the movie “Emotional Crack,” which earned eight awards. Okereke-Linus herself won the 2003 Reel Awards for Best Actress English and Best Actress. The movie was screened at New York City’s 2004 African Film Festival.

    Since then, Okereke-Linus has starred in more than 100 films. In 2006, she won the Afro-Hollywood Award and the Film Makers USA Award for Excellence, followed by the Miriam Makeba Award for Excellence in 2007. “Through the Glass” premiered in October 2008 at the Pacific Design Center in Hollywood, Calif. and won the Recognition Award from the California Legislature and the city of Carson. It opened in theaters across Nigeria in 2009 and was the country’s first film to gross over 10 million naira in its first week. The movie was nominated for African Academy Movie Award as Best Screen Play. In 2010, the film premiered in Switzerland, the first Nigerian movie to open in a Swiss cinema, and it also had a market screening at the Cannes Film Festival in 2010.

    In 2010, Okereke-Linus was featured in the CNN documentary “50 years of Nigerian Independence.” That same year, she joined Hollywood A-list star Meryl Streep, for an exclusive stage reading of the play “Seven” at the Hudson Theatre in New York City as part of the Women in the World Conference, opened by U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. Okereke-Linus has been nominated three times for the prestigious Africa Movie Academy Awards. She was awarded Nigeria’s fourth highest award, Member of the Order of the Federal Republic. She also serves as a brand ambassador for LG Super 3D Smart Phone, Kanekalon, recently winning the Eloy award for brand ambassador of 2012 and a brand icon for numerous Nigerian fashion designers.Facebooktwitterredditpinterestlinkedinmail

    December 27, 2012 • Acting • Views: 4745

  • Deciphering Stanley Kubrick at the New York Film Academy

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    Director and NYFA Editing Instructor Rodney Ascher recently returned from the Cannes Film Festival where his first feature film, Room 237, was one of only two American films in the Directors’ Fortnight. His documentary explores numerous theories about Stanley Kubrick’s 1980 film, The Shining, and its hidden meanings. The film premiered at this year’s Sundance Film Festival, and received glowing reviews from the major press. Here’s a roundup.

    • New York Times examined the documentary and called it an “intriguing” look at a growing subculture of Kubrick fans which has developed over the years.
    • “One of the great movies about movies…”  – Variety.
    • The Hollywood Reporter said, “Nutty, arcane and jaw-dropping in equal measure.”
    • On his blog, New York Magazine film critic Bilge Ebiri chose Room 237 as his Sundance pick. “The film expresses, better than any movie I can think of right now, the feeling of being lost inside the world of a film, and by extension being lost inside the world of film.”
    • “A brilliant work of alternative film criticism – and critique of criticism.” – LA Weekly.

    “Kubrick was my first favorite filmmaker,” says Ascher, “and one whose work has stuck with me throughout my life – The Shining in particular. The first time I saw it, I managed to sit through about 10 minutes. The music in particular filled me with an overwhelming sense of dread and doom that was more than I could take. It soon became one of my favorites.”

    Ascher says the idea for the film came after a chance Facebook posting. “My friend, Tim Kirk, who went on to become a producer of the film, posted an analysis of [The Shining] on my Facebook page. I became interested in the phenomenon — lots of people bringing up radical ideas. I thought we could make a pretty comprehensive field guide to what was in the film. It soon became clear that we could only get the tip of the iceberg.” Room 237 shares theories about The Shining from five people, told through voice over, film clips, animations, and dramatic reenactments. Ascher describes it as “not just a demonstration about how it has captured people’s imaginations, but also how people react to movies, and literature, and the arts in general.”

    The film was chosen to screen as part of the Director’s Fortnight at Cannes alongside Michel Gondry’s The We and the I. Room 237 is being distributed by IFC in North America and Wild Bunch in France. Watch for a theatrical release later this year. “It’s very exciting,” says Ascher, “I’d been used to being sort of an outcast with short films, screening to more … select groups. It was great. The screenings were packed, we were in a gigantic theater, got great press … I’m sure anyone would be excited.”

    See yourself premiering your movie at Sundance, screening it at Cannes, and getting fawned over by critics? Then look into our school and decide if it’s the right path for you.

    Rodney Ascher at Cannes Film Festival.

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    June 7, 2012 • Community Highlights, Digital Editing • Views: 5159

  • One Graduate’s Journey to the Cannes Film Festival

    FacebooktwitterredditpinterestlinkedinmailFaraz WaqarNew York Film Academy Abu Dhabi grad Faraz Waqar’s graduation thesis film 9:11 AM was selected for its world premiere at the Festival de Cannes 2012 Short Films Corner. The Short Films Corner hands you an annual tailor-made program of industry meets, workshops and conferences that deal with strategic issues. Faraz will benefit from all the advantages of being an accredited attendee of the festival. He can access the Marché du Film exhibitors or those in the Village International. Faraz will also be able to network with all the biggest industry players, whether they are institutions, financiers and the most important international reps in the film business. Talk about opening some doors. What more can a film graduate ask for?

    Tell us where your passion started?

    Studying film and working in film was always my dream. Reviving the film industry in my own country through films has always been my goal. However, the pressure for financial success and lack of support from my family forced me to study Business Management instead of filmmaking. I spent 12 years working in the corporate world as a banker in the Middle East but never let my dream of becoming a filmmaker die. After achieving a fair degree of success in my business career and achieving financial independence, I was in a position to finally pursue my dream and passion.

    What drives you as an artist?

    The Middle East has played a very important role in the of human civilization. In recent years, however, this region has been in the media for all the wrong reasons. Cinema is the most powerful tool to make or break the image of a person, culture or country. Becoming a film director puts you in a position of immense power. You can influence the hearts and minds of people of the world. This is the best way to contribute something which will benefit your own culture. You also enjoy the immense opportunity to be creative. You’re having fun too.

    How was your NYFA experience?

    I joined the 1-year Filmmaking program in Abu Dhabi last February. The institution brought to my doorstep the facilities and instruction that has trained so many prominent filmmakers in the United States. I graduated from NYFA two months ago. It was perhaps the most memorable year of my life. I truly lived my dream. The best part about studying at NYFA was learning from professors who had a wealth of experiences working as directors and cinematographers on world renowned film projects both in Hollywood and in the Middle East. The student body in Abu Dhabi is extremely diverse. We have classmates from Australia, India, Africa, Iran, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, Eastern Europe, Pakistan, Lebenon, Switzerland, Iraq, UAE, Nigeria and Denmark. It was superb because you got to make some wonderful friends from different cultures and benefit from their vastly different perspectives. I formed some very close friendships and enjoyed working with this diverse international group. Film school always ends up attracting the most creative and passionate people. The network I’ve established will benefit me in any project I pursue.

    NYFA’s program is intensive and comprehensive. Film projects start from idea conception to script finalization, and ranges from casting, editing, production and post-production. I wrote, directed and edited 8 complete films during my one year at the school. In addition I was also involved in the production of 39 films in various capacities as part of the crew (short films, documentaries and music videos) for other directors. I got full freedom to experiment, shoot and work on different ideas and scripts for my projects.

    We had access to some of the best film cameras in the world. We shot from digital to 16mm, 35mm and even on the Red Epic. It was amazing.

    What is your perspective on screening at film festivals? Advice on the process?

    Recognition at quality film festivals do add a lot of credibility to a new filmmaker’s profile. It gives one confidence as a professional to people. Recognition at a major festival immediately bring you into the spotlight, especially in a market where filmmaking is still in a nascent stage and the people in the industry all know each other. It helps bring your name into notice amongst all in the film making circle. Never make your film with the intention of getting into any particular festival. That is not the way I would do it. Be selective about the festivals you apply to once your film is complete. I believe that whatever comes naturally from your heart will represent you and what you are most passionate about. It will turn out to be your best work. It is also very important to present their films professionally. Films submitted should be properly branded. DVDs must be labelled, craft themed posters meticulously, and make sure to select originally composed or royalty-free music. This improves the chances of selection too. Every small detail helps.

    What kind of advice would you give to the aspiring filmmaker and NYFA student dreaming to succeed?

    Be yourself. Let your work be original. Let it be your best creative effort on a subject you are passionate about. It will naturally bring out the best in you. Believe in your work but never shy away from feedback and criticism from a trusted source. The audience is your consumer, and you must communicate a certain point of view. Being too abstract for the sake of being artistic may cause the message of your film to be lost. Be intelligent. Do not focus on controversial topics for the sake of controversy. Base your film on a controversial topic if you truly believe in it. Your script is everything. Make sure it’s perfect. Make sure it’s engaging and interesting.

    Actors matter the most. Their performance can make or break your film. Select them wisely, prepare them well and value their time and effort. You cannot make a film alone. It’s a team effort. Your crew is contributing in a major way to give shape to your vision. Value them and treat them with respect. Build your team with the next project in mind. Don’t use and discard others. Selfishness and a bad attitude will take you nowhere in a very team-dependent industry.

    To learn more about NYFA in Abu Dhabi please click here.

    9:11AMFacebooktwitterredditpinterestlinkedinmail

    April 3, 2012 • Acting • Views: 4517

  • Whatever Happened to Francis Ford Coppola?

    FacebooktwitterredditpinterestlinkedinmailFrancis Ford CoppolaLast week was the 40th Anniversary of The Godfather. I don’t know if you saw it but the AMC channel aired it repeatedly during the week. Watching those films again, it made me wonder…

    Whatever happened to Francis Ford Coppola?

    The Godfather was a huge influence. I mean everyone went to see it. I remember I had a friend who was ushering at the movie theater and would sneak me in. It didn’t even matter what part of the movie you came in at, you’d just watch it from there to the end. Sometimes I’d even stay to watch the beginning of the next show. We used to refer to the film as, “the Beast.” That’s how much respect we had for it. A few years later, as a film student, Scorsese became my guy (he was the filmmaker that made me want to be a filmmaker.) The Godfather was still the benchmark and with all due respect and deference to good ol’ Marty, he never made “The Beast”.

    Coppola followed up with Apocalypse Now. The stories about making that film are legendary—the enormous amounts of money, equipment, and insanity that went on in the jungles. But whether you like the film or not, you can’t help but be impressed by the enormity of the undertaking and the execution. It is unquestionably the work of a master filmmaker. And then… What? What happened? He never again fulfilled the promise of his early films. It makes me sad. What went wrong? Where did Francis Ford Coppola jump the shark?

    It started with a film called One From the Heart. You’ve probably never seen it. Few people have. It was a musical fantasy set in Vegas, and even though it pioneered some video-editing techniques, it was a disaster with audiences. Then there were The Outsiders and Rumble Fish. It seemed to us as young directors as the work of a desperate filmmaker who lost one audience and was trying everything he could to connect with a new one. Next he tried a Godfather knockoff, The Cotton Club. An epic crime drama, it even had the same sort of violent montage at the end. A pale imitation and another box office disaster. And finally, Godfather 3, the last ditch effort to recapture past glory. I don’t even have to tell you what a disappointment that film was.

    How did such a great filmmaker lose his way? Was it the disappointing loss of Zoetrope Studios? In 1969, Coppola decided to buck the studio system, which he felt had stifled his artistic vision. He created Zoetrope to fund off-beat films by first time directors. It didn’t work. Was it the pressure of paying off the huge financial debt in which he found himself? Coppola has declared bankruptcy three times. It’s not easy holding onto a personal vision while digging yourself out of a financial hole. Or was it the tragic death of his son? Personal tragedy has a way of putting ambitions of glory in perspective. In the end, perhaps it was just the unimaginable pressure of having to equal something as great as The Godfather.

    The Godfather

    It’s hard not to reflect on the somewhat tragic trajectory of his life. Early success does have its pitfalls. Compare the careers of directors like Spielberg and Scorsese. They all started out at the same time. They were part of an avant-garde group of filmmakers that were revolutionizing Hollywood. But where Spielberg and Scorsese are viable, influential, Academy Award nominated filmmakers to this day, Francis Ford Coppola has sadly vanished from the scene. I can easily imagine him filled with deep satisfaction and appreciation of what he’s accomplished. I can also imagine him with deep regret at what could’ve been. Ultimately, I’d like to think that with age comes perspective, if not wisdom, and maybe even acceptance. What do you think? Every filmmaker has to come to grips at some point with this issue of art and commerce. How have you handled it? Or how do you envision handling it? I’d like to know.

    Click here to learn more about the filmmaking program.Facebooktwitterredditpinterestlinkedinmail

    March 16, 2012 • Filmmaking • Views: 10938