Martin Scorsese Explains Why Future of Film is Bright in Open Letter to Daughter

Martin Scorsese Explains Why Future of Film is Bright in Open Letter to Daughter

Martin Scorsese took a break from defending his “Wolf of Wall Street” to the press by penning an open letter to his daughter that made no mention of his latest, divisive film, but explained why he feels the future of filmmaking is a bright one. The reason according to Marty? Because movies can now be made on the fly and for cheap.

“You can get beautiful images with affortable cameras,” he says. “You can record sound. You can edit and mix and color-correct at home. This has all come to pass.”

He stresses, however, that “the tools don’t make the movie, you make the movie.”

Read his full letter (published in the Italian news magazine, L’Espresso) below, and go here for our review of “Wolf of Wall Street.”

Dearest Francesca,

I’m writing this letter to you about the future. I’m looking at it through the lens of my world. Through the lens of cinema, which has been at the center of that world.

For the last few years, I’ve realized that the idea of cinema that I grew up with, that’s there in the movies I’ve been showing you since you were a child, and that was thriving when I started making pictures, is coming to a close. I’m not referring to the films that have already been made. I’m referring to the ones that are to come.

I don’t mean to be despairing. I’m not writing these words in a spirit of defeat. On the contrary, I think the future is bright.

We always knew that the movies were a business, and that the art of cinema was made possible because it aligned with business conditions. None of us who started in the 60s and 70s had any illusions on that front. We knew that we would have to work hard to protect what we loved. We also knew that we might have to go through some rough periods. And I suppose we realized, on some level, that we might face a time when every inconvenient or unpredictable element in the moviemaking process would be minimized, maybe even eliminated. The most unpredictable element of all? Cinema. And the people who make it.

I don’t want to repeat what has been said and written by so many others before me, about all the changes in the business, and I’m heartened by the exceptions to the overall trend in moviemaking – Wes Anderson, Richard Linklater, David Fincher, Alexander Payne, the Coen Brothers, James Gray and Paul Thomas Anderson are all managing to get pictures made, and Paul not only got The Master made in 70mm, he even got it shown that way in a few cities. Anyone who cares about cinema should be thankful.

And I’m also moved by the artists who are continuing to get their pictures made all over the world, in France, in South Korea, in England, in Japan, in Africa. It’s getting harder all the time, but they’re getting the films done.

But I don’t think I’m being pessimistic when I say that the art of cinema and the movie business are now at a crossroads. Audio-visual entertainment and what we know as cinema – moving pictures conceived by individuals – appear to be headed in different directions. In the future, you’ll probably see less and less of what we recognize as cinema on multiplex screens and more and more of it in smaller theaters, online, and, I suppose, in spaces and circumstances that I can’t predict.

So why is the future so bright? Because for the very first time in the history of the art form, movies really can be made for very little money. This was unheard of when I was growing up, and extremely low budget movies have always been the exception rather than the rule. Now, it’s the reverse. You can get beautiful images with affordable cameras. You can record sound. You can edit and mix and color-correct at home. This has all come to pass.

But with all the attention paid to the machinery of making movies and to the advances in technology that have led to this revolution in moviemaking, there is one important thing to remember: the tools don’t make the movie, you make the movie. It’s freeing to pick up a camera and start shooting and then put it together with Final Cut Pro. Making a movie – the one you need to make – is something else. There are no shortcuts.

If John Cassavetes, my friend and mentor, were alive today, he would certainly be using all the equipment that’s available. But he would be saying the same things he always said – you have to be absolutely dedicated to the work, you have to give everything of yourself, and you have to protect the spark of connection that drove you to make the picture in the first place. You have to protect it with your life. In the past, because making movies was so expensive, we had to protect against exhaustion and compromise. In the future, you’ll have to steel yourself against something else: the temptation to go with the flow, and allow the movie to drift and float away.

This isn’t just a matter of cinema. There are no shortcuts to anything. I’m not saying that everything has to be difficult. I’m saying that the voice that sparks you is your voice – that’s the inner light, as the Quakers put it.

That’s you. That’s the truth.

All my love,

Dad

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Comments

marti

Warner Bros confirmation that Robert DeNiro to be paid $3 billion for his part of Paul Vitti in Analyze 3 makes us all feel happy

Dan

I think what Scorsese is really saying is: "This business is going to hell in a handbasket really fast and I'm almost done with it, but if you still want in, you have my blessing. You're young, you can take it."

Goatlips

The future is video games. Recently, I've been watching films from the IMDb top 250 that I've never seen. I've concluded that films really aren't very good. Nowadays you're lucky if they make 1 good film per year! Even from a list of classics, virtually all films are flawed, have glaring plotholes, or have simply unrealistic occurrences. The flaws left unnoticed by imbecile directors drive me nuts! As for Scorsese – Goodfellas is a masterpiece, but everything since has been flawed. The Departed is hugely overrated and a very poor re-working of Goodfellas – a very simple story made confusing by bad structure and a terribly naive and erratic character portrayal by Nicholson. Hugo was gutless too – highlighted by the way the trailer made out it was going to be a fantasy epic, which it was not.
In 2013 Iron Man 3 was the 2nd highest earner – it is a terrible film. Gravity was meant to be the best, but, forgive the pun, I'll wager that's vacuous too. 2 years ago a pretty poor, black & white, silent, foreign film won the Best Picture Oscar, purely for its novelty value and complete lack of competition – and Scorsese thinks film-making is on the up!? The recent shamelessly commercially corrupt decision to have 10 Best Film Oscar nominations is a real embarrassment that's become a burden to the academy now.

Leone

Where come all the hate for the best working director from?

Jeff

Isn't it funny that this gets released right before Oscar nomination voting draws to a close? Two words: mea culpa Two more words: Damage Control.

Neil

1. To everyone complaining about Scorsese turning into a studio hack…..I don't really like the mob movies either, but Gangs of New York was an epic beauty. FU if you don't like it. And take your own "artiste" opinions with a big grain of salt, it's not like even ONE of you bitter losers could come close to his career.

2. To all of the "internet feminists" complaining about him not naming one female director as his inspiration….go eat a turd, whiners. It's not his responsibility to LIE about who inspires him to appease your politically correct bullsh*t. Maybe more women directors and writers should make films that aren't unwatchable dogsh*t. And quit whining about being "oppressed" by the studios, get off your fat c*nts and make a decent movie that people actually want to see. Some women have actually achieved that, you know, but a lot more could if they actually gave a damn instead of expecting yet another feminist welfare system to help the already over-privileged achieve their goals. If you want more women film-makers inspiring people, then it's up to women film-makers to make inspiring films. Plenty of men started with less than nothing(and still do), so what's the problem?

Julie

Who pockets the extra money that they're saving?

Bitch Pack

Lovely letter, however… not sure if anyone has said this, but he gives his young daughter a list of male filmmakers- no female ones mentioned…

Leandro Lefa

This reminds me of Back to Room 666, where Win Wenders looks back onto his own film and reflects upon today's possibilities. I believe Martin would be interested in this as well.
It's on Vimeo: http:/&#x2F

;25536729

cutis

Oh yeah and from Taxi driver to Casino!!!!

Julia Chasman

OK — is it not a little bit interesting/sad/telling — that in the list of all the fab directors who he's thrilled are able to get their movies made today — there is not one woman!! And it's a letter to his daughter!!!

The timing is interesting too, as his latest film is kind of a low point in his presentation of female characters on the screen….Look, I love Marty, I love his films, he is a cinema god to me, and I'm so happy that he is active and vital at this point in his career, and cares enough about the art and about young people to put his thoughts out there — but — come on!!!

Marty — please try harder!! Go back to your younger, hungrier self! This is the man who brought us ALICE DOESN'T LIVE HERE ANYMORE, as his, what, second or third film? One of the greatest female roles in any film ever! But today, I don't see that anymore…I see complacency, and — (for him) phoning it in. Admittedly, his phoned-in film is still way better than the best of other filmmakers, but — damn, I just wish he'd change it up a bit — maybe the way Soderbergh has — to acknowledge that you have to stay hungry to be an artist — even if you never have to worry about your next meal.

Turdy Birdy

If he just went and made a film with all the affordable gear he speaks so fondly of and dropped all the extraneous luxury gear and massive crews he currently uses he would probably a make a better film than the sterilized stuff he's done over the last 20 years, it would have a real Cassavetes affect on his approach thus allowing him to make something not contrived due to market pressures of the studio system his mind has been tragically, insidiously enslaved to.

45

I love this letter!
Loves My voyage to italy.

Tone

Is it a joke that he put David Lynch among his list of shining lights? Someone who has consciously decided to quit making films because of the tenor of Hollywood?

Xavier

Marty is a legend. I don't agree with the haters, he's made some gems over the last twenty. He respects the art, the process and all that it has symbolized. Give credit where it's due. Marty is one of the greatest.

Matthew

"If John Cassavetes, my friend and mentor, were alive today…"

He'd probably wonder what the hell Marty's been doing for the last 20 pictures or so… Remember his comments on Boxcar Bertha…. What do you think he'd make of Cape Fear remake, Casino, Bringing out the Dead, Gangs of New York, Aviator, Hugo, Departed, Shutter Island…. "You’ve just spent years of your life making a piece of shit."

beautiful

Excuse me while I gag. The end is near.

glass

i think movies will be seen on glass, like a window or something transparent like that.

one day

I want more people like SCorsese, Fellini, Kubrick…….

lady

He's the coolest!
You guys have to see him in Taxi driver, a scene in the cab.
He's SUCH a great actor.
Martin, you have to act more.
I also think that to some people, art comes naturally to them.
No everybody can have talent.

Ryan

Francesca is lucky to have a father like Martin Scorcese…

teams

Cinema is a beautiful artform.
No matter how much people put in visual effects, it's never as intense as an organic human expression.
Thank you for this open letter.

round

I miss going to the drive in!

article

Keep making movies MR Scorsese please. We need legends like you!!!!!
I'm scared for cinema.
Thank god we can still access movies from the past.

way

I love that he says: protect it with your life!
We forget these things.
thank you Martin!

yeah

I love this. He is generous.
Anyway his films really capture things from the past and the future.
Timeless.

PAUL

OMG, that was beautiful.

Denny

This is lovely. Interesting in such a encouraging letter to his daughter, he cites only male filmmakers.

I hope he is right. I hope the future of film is bright and more representative.

Adrian Hernandez

I remember Francis Ford Coppola having a similar sentiment at the end of "Hearts of Darkness". In a weird way, he even saw the Youtube generation of filmmakers coming.

Even still, these are amazing words from a master of the art. Totally can't wait to see "Wolf of Wall Street" this weekend.

Maeyen Bassey

Brilliant.

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