Alex Meillier ("Alias Ruby Blade")
: I could point to a handful of
instructors in particular who really had an influence on my trajectory
as a documentary filmmaker, one of which was the legendary filmmaker
George Stoney. Mostly though I think I learn a little more with each
project I take on having worked in many different capacities in turns as
a documentary cinematographer, editor, graphic designer and producer.
Meera Menon ("Farah Goes Bang")
: I did go to film school, where I
had the great privilege of meeting mentors that have really shaped how I
approached this whole process. But I have many mentors outside of the
film school experience as well. As much as I learned through school, I
learn equally as much, if not more, from the people I work with- like
the DP of this film (Paul Gleason), who taught me and everyone on set
about how to make the artistic choices we made relative to the digital
world in which we were shooting.
Kim Mordaunt ("The Rocket")
: My mentors to date have been my art
teacher at school, Kerry Woods, my father, Richard (a documentary film
maker) and step-mother Diana (a painter) and also working collaborations
with people like writer/director Howard Jackson who I worked with as an
actor and film-maker. Hope to have more mentors to come.
Phil Morrison ("Almost Christmas")
: No real direct, specific
mentors. Jonathan Demme was someone whose movies made me feel like I
would like to do that too.Karl Mueller ("Mr. Jones")
: The most
important part of my film school experience—besides the people I met—was
my involvement with the campus sketch comedy show, NSTV. I was the head
writer, but because we got ridiculously ambitious about our sketches, I
ended up shooting, directing, and editing sketches in all sorts of
genres, along with everyone else. It was an insanely talented group of
people. Some of them have gone on to become writer/producers for TV
shows like “Dexter” and “Cougartown.” Another writer, Andrew Mason, went
out and founded a little web startup called Groupon.
As far as mentors go, the WGA has a program where they hook up
first-time directors with other writers who’ve already made the leap
into directing. So I was lucky enough to sit down for an afternoon and
pick the brain of Mr. Billy Ray.
Michael Noer ("Northwest")
: Cinema Verite and watching Chris Marker movies
Ogrodnik ("Deep Powder")
: I originally wanted to be a journalist and when I was 19, I
left college and went to Washington, DC where I found a job working for
Jim Ridgeway. He was working on a documentary with Kevin Rafferty about
the emergence of the New Right and the KKK and they asked me to get
involved as an AC. I learned how to change magazines and lenses on an
Aaton 16mm camera in a basement on MacDougal Street and then spent time
traveling across the Mid-West with the crew shooting interviews and
cross burnings. It was an eye-opening experience and I was blown away by
how a camera could give you access to all these different worlds.
I went to Harvard and was a VES (Visual Environmental Studies) major
and I predominantly focused on documentary filmmaking. After I
graduated, I bounced around working as a freelancer on docs in NY and
then worked for Michael Moore and National Geographic Television.
Eventually, I started getting interested in narrative filmmaking and
decided to go to Columbia for my MFA. It's a wonderful program that
emphasizes storytelling and working with actors and I learned a
tremendous amount from Lenore DeKoven and a screenwriting class I took
with Paul Schrader. I've learned a tremendous amount from my students
and colleagues at NYU. It's a culture of constantly making and
reflecting and that is so special because once you get out into the
world, the "making" can take such a long time. My biggest mentors lately
are the people I made Deep Powder with. My collaborations with cast and
crew members led to learning more about the craft of filmmaking.
There's nothing better than being in the process of making and
collaborating with other people. I love it.
Jessica Oreck ("Aatsinki")
: I learned how to make films while making
films. And while working at a video store. Watching movies and making
movies – that’s the only way to do it. One of the biggest influences in
my life is Sean Price Williams. I don’t know any one that thinks like
him. And he’s brilliant with a camera.
Warwick Ross ("Red Obsession")
: I always made short films at school
and university and after getting my degree in Engineering, I couldn't
wait to get into film full time. So I headed to Hollywood and the film
school at USC. Where I was never enrolled but just ducked in and out of
classes with the most inspiring lecturers. I did manage to get a
reference from the professor at the end of that year and used it to get
my first job, on "The Blue Lagoon"
"The Godfather" was one of the greatest inspirations for me - it has
always reminded me that story is the most important element. When we
had the chance to interview Francis Ford Coppola for "Red Obsession" it
seemed like such serendipity.
Josh and Benny Safdie ("Lenny Cooke")
: In a way we learned from our
father. He always filmed us as kids and taught us the importance of the
small moment. This is something we hold close to our hearts and
something that has had a large effect on this film.
Deidre Schoo ("Flex is Kings")
: I learned how to make a film by
making a film. I went to school for documentary photography. I've been
lucky to have great mentors and friends who've been very patient as they
lived through and guided my learning process!
Rona Segal ("Six Acts")
: I am not as Cinema royalty as [co-director]
Jonathan... I take my pride in coming from no where. My best writing
school was working as a journalist for 7 years.Darren Stein
: I would have to say my Dad was a mentor of sorts. He ran a
small film lab in Hollywood founded by his parents in the 60s called
Crest National. It began as a camera shop and grew into a 16mm lab which
expanded to 35mm and then video in the late 70s and, later, digital. I
also learned a lot through Tom Bodley who was a post production
coordinator for the Samuel Goldwyn company when I was in high school. I
got exposed to films like Sid and Nancy, Wild at Heart and Prick up Your
Ears - all seminal movie going experiences of my teenage years. Also,
the Z Channel, which was the very first cable station only available in
certain parts of California, was like a year-round film festival which
showed mostly independent and foreign films. Thankfully my parents
weren't monitoring what I was watching too closely.
Eric Steel ("Kiss the Water")
: Scott Rudin, Jeffrey Katzenberg, Ron
Meyer, Jane Rosenthal, Nora Ephron, Stanley Jaffe, Robert Benton. And my
dad was the architect Charles Gwathmey -- he taught me how to build
things and be completely committed to your vision.
Linda Bloodworth Thomason ("Bridegroom")
: I discovered that many of
the things I learned from television production could be transferred to
film. My earliest mentors were the great Norman Lear, Larry Gelbart
("MASH," "Tootsie") and Jim Brooks ("Terms of Endearment," "Jerry
Maguire"). I cannot tell you how much I learned from being around this
brilliant trifecta of writing, directing and producing talent. As for
directing documentaries, I had to learn from the ground up. Candidate
Bill Clinton was my mentor simply because he believed in me, with very
little justification. All the films I made for him were done without
interference or focus groups. Nothing was done by committee. They were
produced over a period of thirteen years, so I guess we now have the
longest, ongoing relationship between a president and an artist. I am
very proud and grateful that he allowed me such unbelievable artistic
freedom.Christina Voros ("The Director")
: While at NYU I was lucky
enough to work with Jay Anania, Carol Dysinger and Tony Janelli,
tremendous mentors who have continued to be tremendous friends. But
beyond the curriculum, a great part of my education came from the
remarkable filmmakers I‘ve come to work with: Randy Wilkins, Marni
Zelnick, Keith Davis, Jeff Pinilla and of course, James Franco. I met
James in 2008 and since then we’ve collaborated on six shorts, three
docs and four feature films. It's safe to say I’ve learned as much from
our collaboration over the years as I have from my formal training in
Jane Weinstock ("The Moment")
: I first learned to make films by
taking a filmmaking class in which I made a short film. I also worked on
other people's films. After making a couple of shorts, I attended the
Sundance Director's Lab, which was a fantastic learning experience.
There I worked with Joan Tewkesbury, Sam Waterston and other filmmakers
Matt Wolf ("Teenage")
: Kelly Reichardt was an important mentor to
me. I also started out in the experimental film world, and that
community really shaped me.Marina Zenovich ("Richard Pryor: Omit the Logic")
: Alex Gibney and Steven Soderbergh
Enid Zentelis ("Bottled Up")
: Abraham Ravett; Sundance InstituteDavid
: There was a weekly showing of a thing called "The
4:30 Movie" back in the day. It showed movie-of-the-week type B movies.
It had a dynamic opening title sequence with cheesy overstated music
behind a cool animation of a Hollywood cameraman being swooped on a
dolly in silhouette. I was eight years old and I wanted to do that. I
spent a lot of years working with, and learning from, brilliant
documentary directors like Michael Moore, Joe Berlinger and Bruce
Sinofsky, and Dan Klores.
Craig Zisk ("The English Teacher")
: I went to USC but was an English
major. I was able to take film writing and criticism classes but not
production courses. I started working as a PA while still in school, so
my education really started hanging out on set between lunch runs and
xeroxing. I had great mentors like Gary David Goldberg and Jon Avnet who
taught me that the material was as important as the filmmaking. In
recent years, I've been working a fair amount with Steven Spielberg on a
few of his television series and feel that he really opened me up to a
new level of directing. He encouraged me to be more inventive and not
conform to the "norms" of television. It was quite freeing and really
has affected my work for the better.
READ MORE about the 2013 TRIBECA FILMMAKERS:
What Cameras Did the 2013 Tribeca Filmmakers Use?
Did the 2013 Tribeca Filmmakers Crowdfund?
What Software Did the 2013 Tribeca Filmmakers Use to Edit?Where Did the 2013 Tribeca Filmmakers Go to School?