Nestor Torre's advice to new filmmakers

From pinoydvd:

indie boi: I just read this today and thought that this would be a good jumping off point for discussions. Ironically though, the article is from Nestor Torre, it would be interesting to see if you guys agree with his views or not -- take note, this is a man who saw redeeming qualities in Mr. and Mrs. Smith. 

Viewfinder: Why some new filmmakers' movies don't quite work

By Nestor Torre

I’VE written a lot about the good films and positive results of last month’s Cinemalaya indie film festival. Today, let’s focus on the efforts that didn’t quite make the grade in terms of quality and pertinence, hopefully to come up with lessons that will benefit other new filmmakers who will be trying their luck at next year’s festival:

To my mind, four of the nine full-length movies that were produced for the film fest suffered from problems that prevented them from ending up as creditable productions. Some of their storyline and scripts had been promising (I judged all levels of the competition), so it was disappointing to see them failing to realize their full potential.

What were some of the inhibiting or distracting factors that negated their promise? First, lack of directorial organization, visualization and editing sense.

Some people are simply better scriptwriters than directors. They can’t fully vivify the good points in their scripts so that they are fully realized, not just on paper, but on the big screen.

As directors, they should know which scenes to highlight, and which to play briskly, or even eliminate for the purpose of clearer storytelling. They should also remind themselves to avoid repetition, or saying pretty much the same thing in different ways.

This repetitiveness results in yet another common problem: excessive length. Some new filmmakers think it’s OK to shoot a movie that is almost two and a half hours long. They forget that many feature films these days run for only 90 minutes.

As directors, they shouldn’t fall in love with their material so much that they keep hitting their audience on the head with it. Suggestion and intimation are better than relentless iteration.

To make better movies, self-absorbed filmmakers should remind themselves that they’re at the service of their audience, not themselves. So, brevity, clarity, accessibility and empathy are the cinematic virtues they should do their darndest to acquire.

Also, avoid long, languid, artistic and symbolic sequences that are more poetry than cinema. New directors should stress the importance of editing to energize their work, and ruthlessly cut out footage that, while truly lovely, impedes the dynamic progression of the stories they tell.

They should also have a keener sense of the requisites of feature filmmaking. While indie movies don’t require star value, you should at least choose for your leads unknowns who don’t turn your audience off.

Don’t cast people just because they’re your friends, or are readily available to you. Cast as the role requires, period.

Finally, new filmmakers should realize that, when they get to the full-length mode, they can no longer play around and entertain themselves with their private notions and conceits. Feature-length filmmaking is cinema at its most public and rigorous, and heretofore dilettante artists have a lot of growing up to do.

If Lav Diaz followed every bit of Torre's advice he'd be another Joey Reyes.

edsa77: LAV DIAZ SAYS..

Ang pinakamalaking kasalanan ng Inquirer sa lahat ay pinayagan nitong magsalita ang isang kolumnista tungkol sa independent cinema na hindi naman nito naiintindihan at wala itong authority para magsalita tungkol dito. Ano ba ang pelikulang nagawa niya? Naghihiganti siya dahil pinagtawanan 'yung pelikula niyang ginawa noon. Sabi niya hindi magagawa ang "Kriminal ng Barrio Concepcion" in twenty years after manalo ito sa scriptwriting contest. The next year,naging pelikula siya. Ngayon, ang nakakalungkot, siya ang nagdidikta sa mga bata ng kung ano ang indie cinema dahil lagi siyang nababasa. May power siyang ikontrol ang utak ng mga tao tungkol sa kultura. May power siyang sabihin na dapat hindi lagpas ng dalawang oras ang pelikula mo.


(The Inquirer's biggest sin is allowing a certain columnist to speak on an independent cinema that he doesn't understand and has no authority to speak for. What films has he done? He's just taking revenge because the pictures he's made were laughed at.  He said "Criminal of Barrio Concepcion" would never be made in twenty years, after this won a scriptwriting contest. The next year, it was made into a film. Now the sad thing is that he's dictating to the youth what indie cinema is because he's being read. He has power to control the minds of people on matters cultural. He has power to say that a film cannot exceed two hours.


Lav really is being too diplomatic and tactful. He should tell us exactly what he feels!  Grin

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