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Articles - Directing

A Rare Director

Scorsese will forever be the lonely, mawkish boy nestled between
the sidewalk and the sea, there dreaming and inventing a cinema
built from a moment of years. And quite the miracle this “builder”
of such fusty persuasion, so delightfully and intellectually old-fashioned,
can bumble gracefully about the modern universe, with the absorbing
curiosities of a Monsieur Hulot, and be still further thrilled by
ambitious discoveries.

A rare director, he, who still from his nostrils blows
dirt (as one can imagine John Ford doing, stomping over his crew,
hollering for a better angle of the horse’s fanny), dangerously
and fully inspired. That he would even fret over being from the
“past” (“I can never do what they do because they’re of this modern
world, I’m not.”) is testimony to his uncommon humbleness—yet one
more vanished trait of contemporary filmmakers. Thank goodness for
his incurable melancholy, and bless him for being so sentimentally

Although he believes he is no class of musician (however
later concludes “editing” is a close second), I’ve always considered
Scorsese something of a Glenn Gould: a genius of flamboyant yet
disciplined performance; that master of things who finds it better
to “hum” along while he plays, so that the naturally awkward human
being can stand next to the tall and rather untouchable inventions
of heaven.

As Federico Fellini once suggested: “Either you have
it or you don’t. We search for it outside of ourselves only after
we’re all dried up inside.” Signor Scorsese is worlds away from
drying up—and still, in fact, happily wet behind the ears.

Thank you, Marty. You’ve done a fine thing with
your life.

— James Sepsey, Bakersfield,

DV Possibilities Are Endless

Issue #48 was your best issue yet, and I particularly
enjoyed the “World Cinema at Home” article, as it sort of ties into
a project my company, Digital Fantastique Studios, is working on.
Our first DV production is a zombie movie called Hybrid, which has
the distinction of being the first international digital video feature

We were recently covered on Ain’t it Cool News and
as a result of that publicity, we now have over 100 moviemakers
working on contributing to our global zombie-outbreak movie, which
we plan on releasing internationally on a region-free (universal)
DVD next year. We’re working on setting up an international distribution
system and digital video network for true indie moviemakers who
are struggling to get their work seen.

Everything in your issue #48 put a smile on our faces,
from “Inside the Indie Distribution Crisis,” to the “10 Things You
Need to Know About DV” articles.

Here is the one thing your readers need to know about
DV: the movies in your head can now be made very easily. It’s inexpensive,
it’s good practice and the possibilities are endless. The days of
complaining about how hard it is to make movies and get them seen
are over. There are no more excuses. (It also doesn’t hurt that
the Panasonic AG-DVX100 presents some of the finest issues/49/images I have
seen yet from a digital video camera.)

Indie moviemaking is alive and well. Thanks, MM,
for giving us continued support and a voice!

— Terry Osterhout, Valhalla, NY

“Real Cause” of Next Wave Failure

Your discussion of the demise of Next Wave Films managed
to omit the real cause of failure. A business which seeks to acquire
(at a pittance) films which have already been made at someone else’s
risk and expense isn’t likely to have much of a future—particularly
when most filmmakers manage to find completion funds without signing
their work away to corporations like Next Wave.

Similarly, Next Wave’s production venture, Agenda
2000, went nowhere, with at least one Next Wave associate privately
conceding that Next Wave had never (and would never) finance a film,
even in the low six figure range, without a star or a large portion
of the financing coming from elsewhere. (Even that assessment proved
to be too optimistic). Widespread frustration with Next Wave’s dilatory
pace and lack of responsiveness was also common, with letters and
calls to Peter Broderick about project status going ignored, even
after “meetings” had taken place.

The claims of Ray Carney notwithstanding, money is
central to credible and mature filmmaking, as his hero, John Cassavetes,
knew all too well. Travelling the country to promote DV, as Peter
Broderick did, won’t get quality cinema made. Only investment will.
Nobody is going to miss Next Wave Films.

— John Paines, New York, NY

Nice Job for a Whippersnapper

I dreaded “The 25 Most Influential Directors of All
Time” (Issue #47, Vol. 9). Another piece by some whippersnapper
who thinks movies began when she started seeing them? But Wood’s
article was a delight: the tone, the sense of history and the obvious
knowledge behind the evaluations and summations.

I disagree on only two counts: Did Buñuel really
influence more filmmakers than Murnau? The coming of sound may have
made Murnau’s titleless The Last Laugh seem less significant, but
what about the photography and the atmospherics of Sunrise? And there’s
the first Dracula. Whom did Buñuel influence?

Also, the Neorealist movement is missing. Visconti?
Rossellini? De Sica? Could Scorsese have made your list without their

But thanks for a fine job.

Richard Gercken, Massillon, OH

The Greatest Mag in the World

My name is Randall Gibbs, a subscriber through Summer
2003. MovieMaker is the greatest magazine in the world (seriously),
and I’m eagerly awaiting the delivery of Issue #49.  Please send
ASAP! Thank you.

— R. Gibbs, Van Nuys, CA

Have a comment for the MM staff or readership? Letters
to the editor can be sent via e-mail to:,
or mailed to: MovieMaker Magazine, 2265 Westwood Blvd., #479,
Los Angeles, CA 90064. Please include your full name, phone number,
street and e-mail addresses.

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