For our very first written feature on our new “Meet the Team” series, our team was asked perhaps one of the toughest questions for filmmakers to answer, which was:
“What is the most influential piece of film to you, and why?”
Here’s what they had to say…
Jillian (Owner and Producer):
The film that most impacted my life is Requiem for a Dream directed by Darren Aronofsky. I remember seeing this movie for the first time and feeling like my brain was going to explode. It is unbearably intense and uncomfortable to watch in it’s powerful portrayal of addition, and yet perfectly juxtaposed against genuine beauty. The film is complex. It delves into the human psyche and begs the viewer to contemplate and question “what is addition”? The movie stuck with me for months afterwards and fueled my want to pursue film-making. Watching this movie, I could feel that stylistic decisions were being made to enhance the storytelling and intensify the impact on the viewer. I wanted to learn how.
Nick (Lead Editor):
I’m going to go the professional route and say that two movies are tied for most influential. I consider these movies inspirational for the same reasons. Those movies are The Atomic Cafe and Senna. Both are documentaries built entirely with existing footage and audio, meaning the filmmakers did not shoot new interviews or b-roll.
I found this fascinating as someone diving head first into a career as an editor. Each movie has a solid story arc. Each movie builds effective emotional crescendos using old television clips, 8mm government footage, archived interviews, old TV commercials, and on and on. The fact that these editors took a collection of seemingly disjointed previously produced materials and turned it into a coherent, entertaining, emotionally powerful and memorable finished movie is absolutely remarkable. For me personally, as an editor, both of these movies were purely inspiring.
Morgan (Assistant Producer):
It is truly difficult to answer this question because my common retort is “ok, but from which genre?”. For me, I’d have to say the most influential piece that pushed me into the world of filmmaking was the movie Inglorious Basterds by Quentin Tarantino. I grew up constantly watching movies, but until I saw this film, I hadn’t truly understood what it meant for a director to “take risks” or “push the bounds” of filmmaking. Never before had I seen someone re-write such a delicate piece of history with such brutal honesty, while also incorporating bizarre elements like ultra-violence, black comedy, and a quirky, questionably transitioned soundtrack that somehow works perfectly…much to Ennio Morricone’s despair.
Tarantino’s guts to rewrite and reframe a brutal past reality with such artful yet reckless abandon had me hooked to the idea of what film could be. This movie contains this immense power that in my opinion, only film can have, which is to offer the viewer a glimpse into an alternate reality that has not yet been imagined; a world that could be or could have been, that gives visual power to the underdog and the oppressed, and provides one hell of an immersion into a carefully crafted, well- written story. Through is classic cinematography style, he includes the viewer in the scene, and allows you to, just barely, peer through the third wall.
Watching this film opened up this entire world of movies for me, and I explored the many other filmmakers who practice these techniques of radical visual storytelling, who break the typical Hollywood mold and veer away from traditional ways to tell these tales, no matter how sensitive they may be. I wish my answer could have stemmed from a female director- but I guess that makes this influence all the more inspiring…
The film that has been most influential for me is Moulin Rouge! I’m actually not the biggest fan of musicals, but Moulin Rouge is more akin to a music video – the choreography, use of pop music, lavish art direction, cinematography, and (above all else for me as an editor) the rapid cutting of most sequences was unlike anything I’d ever seen before, and set the film apart fromothers in its genre. It’s also a beautiful and tragic love story; I feel a connection with all of the characters – even the bad guy, because he has feelings too, damnit. To top it off, my wife and I discovered early on in our relationship that we both loved this film – she even quoted it in her wedding vows, which of course left us all sobbing. Of all the films in the world, there isn’t another that has had the same impact on me from both a professional and personal perspective. Plus, who doesn’t believe in truth, beauty, freedom, and love?