Films On Filmmaking

Filmmakers will be the first to tell you that the writing process can indeed be as ugly as it is fruitful…

Those painstaking moments spent etching out that first, second and third draft can take it’s enduring toll on the screenwriter.

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Exterior/Interior. On the set for Francois Truffaut’s Day For Night (1973)

As an audience we often overlook the enigmatic eccentricities that accompany the production. This process, a drama in itself, the very idea behind films on filmmaking.

Ed Wood (1994)

Tired of being pigeon-holed as writers of family films, USC cinematic arts school graduates Scott Alexander and Larry Karaszewski conceived the idea of this biopic, loosely based on the life of cult B-grade filmmaker Edward Davis Wood Jr.

Ed Wood
Ed Wood Starring Johnny Depp

The script was later picked up by director Tim Burton and starred Johnny Depp who earned 2 Academy Awards for his portrayal of Wood.

Depicting that colourful period in the director’s life when he produced his best known films, it also plays out the relationship between director and actor… namely Orson Welles and Bela Lugosi, the latter played by the unforgettable Martin Landau.

Barton Fink (1991)

The Coen brothers wrote this screenplay in three weeks during the filming of Miller’s Crossing, the likes of which they encountered various unspoken difficulties…

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John Turturro peers out into the corridor in Barton Fink

Newly recruited from Broadway to a Hollywood studio, John Turturro plays the title role of a screenwriter struggling to cater to whom he regularly describes as ‘the common man’.

However, it would be misleading to describe Barton Fink solely as a film on filmmaking:

Instead it alludes to the audience the somewhat cancerous predicament of the writers block, the many venomous teeth in the culture of entertainment, the perennial tussle with the demons of the creative process…

8 1/2 (1963)

Somewhere after 6 features, 2 shorts, and a collaboration – or ‘half’ film with another director, comes Otto e Mezzo or 8 1/2.

The ode to filmmaking out of Federico Fellini’s classic oeuvre…

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Marcello Mastroianni in 8 1/2

Frequently flashing back and forth from reality and dream we follow Guido Anselmi (Marcello Mastroianni), a famous Italian director struggling to keep interest in his latest work: an ambitious science fiction film.

Bordering on the autobiographical, our protagonist wrestles between everything from marital issues to writers block…

Winner of 2 Academy Awards for Best Foreign Language Film and Best Costume Design, this film is also ranked in the top 10 of the BFI Top Films Of All Time.

Sullivan’s Travels (1942)
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‘To the memory of those who made us laugh: the motley mountebanks, the clowns, the buffoons, in all times and in all nations, whose efforts have lightened our burden a little, this picture is affectionately dedicated…’
On the surface Sully (Joel McCrea) is a successful Hollywood director with a throng of industry executives that beckon to his every command. On the inside however, he yearns to produce the kind of socially significant cinema that appeals to the working class.
So he decides to abandon the comforts of his Beverly Hills mansion and take to the railroads of middle America; anonymous and without a penny. Through hardship and struggle he hopes he will reinvigorate his creative pulse.
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A lobby card for Preston Sturges’ Hollywood satire Sullivan’s Travels
So begins this riotous satire and influential classic from the great Preston Sturges; the archetypal send-up that cleverly parodies the very industry with which he made his name.

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