You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Martin Scorsese Praises Paul Thomas Anderson, David Fincher, Coens & More In Open Letter About Future Of Film

Martin Scorsese Praises Paul Thomas Anderson, David Fincher, Coens & More In Open Letter About Future Of Film

The future of cinema has been one one of the biggest news stories the past year, with Steven Soderbergh, Steven Spielberg and George Lucas becoming concerned about an industry increasingly focused on blockbusters and franchises, and little else. But some perspective arrives today from a filmmaker who has been in the game for a long time, and pretty much done it all: Martin Scorsese. And he still believes in the future of the film.

"The Wolf Of Wall Street" director recently wrote an open letter to his fifteen year old daughter Francesca about the future of film, and he has a lot of hope. The filmmaker cites the increasingly easy access of good, affordable equipment for aspiring directors, and additionally, the variety of channels available for those needing to find support for their movies. And while there has been changes in what studios are making, Scorsese is heartened by the auteurs who are still getting it done. Here’s an excerpt: 

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.
That’s just part of a level-headed, inspiring look at the state of the movies today, and is a must-read for anyone starting to feel cynical about film. Full letter below. [via Indiewire]

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

This Article is related to: News and tagged


Comments

Keith Carrizosa

Shoot digital, use Final Cut Pro, use all the CGI you want, but I think the goal should be to want to have your movie in a film projector so you can really FEEL what you shot.

Keith Carrizosa

Go watch an old stand up special or tv sitcom from even just 10 years ago, see how much HARDER you laugh. You FEEL things when it is physical, not just laughter. EVERYTHING is felt much more like that.

Keith Carrizosa

(part 8) Just go watch any old analog thing, like music or tv show, like a sitcom or standup..and see how much more you LAUGH when you watch it.

Why do we laugh so hard at OLDER comedies, on tv or movies?

It’s because that emotional element.

I don’t think taking away that FEELING is a good thing

Keith Carrizosa

(part 7) we’d have three more "Lion Kings" by now already

Keith Carrizosa

(part 6)Cartoons, no more good ones on tv, when they used to be everywhere.

Keith Carrizosa

(part 5) Music used to be warmer. T v and movies. Music videos, as soon as they went dig ital, M T V just stopped playing them.

Keith Carrizosa

(part 4) See, because digital as killed everything in its path. Everything used to be "warmer" and just have more feeling in general, because this physicality gave us an emotional connection.

Keith Carrizosa

(part 3)

Digital projection is literally only a few years old, so, I don’t think we can judge right now what its effects will be, not until 20 or 30 years from now.

But I think, because of this lack of emotional connection, it will not be good.

Keith Carrizosa

(part 2/cont.) BUT (and you probably knew this was coming) digital is not physical and so therefore I don’t think you really have an EMOTIONAL connection to it. I’m talking about the medium now, digital projection. Maybe if it were shot on film there’d be a little bit (maybe more than a little bit, quite a bit) but I still feel PROJECTED digitally, one only "senses" a movie, but doesn’t really FEEL it.

Keith Carrizosa

This has to be in parts cuz "SEEMS spammy"…I too am sort of pleasantly surprised that every year at least one filmmaker has been getting it done, as it were. For me, particularly, in the blockbuster realm: first "Pacific Rim", then "Gravity" and "Mad Max." BUT (and you probably knew this was coming)

Keith Carrizosa

Digital is only "the future" because James
Cameron Wanted it that way and made "Avatar" as an excuse for that. He got his wish and he has made hundreds of millions by investing in 3d movie theaters in China. And China now owns AMC movie theaters.

WIDIPONCO

it’s not about namedroppings you morons, it’s about shutting the cynical view about the future of cinema.

Scott Poston

CB – why would he mention Nolan? He creates franchises. And Tarantino? What has he done for movies since Jackie Brown?

Kat

I guess people will forever argue who’s better. It’s good to have critical conversation – especially if you have something analytical to add, and can listen to others’ points of view too – but at the same time it’s also little unnecessary. Why shouldn’t there be several film-makers catering to different tastes, instead of just one who’s "worthy" to make films? That’s part of Scorsese’s argument too: as many film-makers as possible should get their films made.

At the same time, since he’s addressing his young daughter, I do wish he’d present her with some female film-maker examples too. He should show her that she can get those films done too, if she so wants. Who knows, maybe the next Scorsese IS a Scorsese.

(I just noticed the article is ancient, but nevermind, will comment anyway.)

Joeseph

Nobody stays positive in this industry like Martin Scorsese.

DavidC

Scorsese hasn’t abandoned film! Next to film making he helps run the Film Foundation and campaigns for the importance of preserving film. Digital is the future and Scorsese realizes that. Directors who are still shooting on film are directors who started shooting on film the next generation of film makers will most certainly not be shooting on film. Digital offers a convenience and is cheaper, film making has never been this accessible to the average indie film maker and allows more arts to express themselves. However that does not go without saying there is a standard quality of film and thats what Nolan and Tarantino are preserving and i am happy they are doing it and happy Scorsese is preserving the past. But you cant criticize Scorsese for going digital you either go with the times or become a dinosaur and as an artist he has a passion he needs to express. Nolan and other film makers can keep trying to keep film alive but its a business and eventually it will die out. That is sad to say that as an inspiring film maker i will never get to shoot on film and experience the quality and craft at that level but its not up to me or them its a business and they call the shoots.

Josh Sullivan

Am I the only one that noticed his list of directors began and ended with an Anderson? also i actually think the best directors out right now are among the ones he listed including Marty himself.

mike

Quentin Tarantino is easily the most over-rated director of the past 20 years why is anyone talking about him?

Jeff

I like Tarantino. But he cannot touch Scorsese. His last few films have all been surface.

Jay

I don't think Tarantino and Nolan's films are "struggling to get made" like what he was talking about. Django made like 300 million plus and Dark Knight was one of the highest grossing movies. Just saying that is probably the reason they are not on the list (or because he just was not thinking about them at the time). Anyways glad to see Scorsese is as excited as I am about the future of film! Artists can paint or draw with just a pencil and paper, for years filmmakers haven't been able to practice their craft without 30+ million dollars! Now a days you can write, film, edit, and distribute a film right on your phone. Its amazing and I think it should be embraced instead of resisted

Cuchillo

Mean Streets, Raging Bull, Goodfellas, New York New York, The King of Comedy, Casino…
Tarantino has Reservoir Dogs. Django was a piece of crap.
Youre filmic knowledge starts and ends with Tarantino.

Cuchillo

Get a life Jimmy. Not everyone has to be a Tarantino fanboy.
Martin Scorsese is a Legend you morons.

James Bourne

pretentious old Scorsese must be jealous of Tarantino,nolan.they are still campaigning for 'Film' while he abandoned it.

CB

Great write-up, Marty. However, I wish he had name-dropped a few more contemporary filmmakers. For example Chris Nolan and Quentin Tarantino and their fight for shooting on film. Also, filmmakers like Terrence Malick, Todd Field, David O. Russell, Darren Aronofsky, Steve McQueen, Derek Cianfrance, Nicolas Winding Refn, Michaël R. Roskam, Cary Fukunaga, Kathryn Bigelow, Jeff Nichols, Andrew Dominik, Paul Greengrass, John Hillcoat and David Michôd (to name a few!) deserve some acclaim.

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *