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“Books First and Experience Second”: Edward Zwick’s Advice To Young Filmmakers

by Allan Tong.


Edward Zwick is at TIFF to premiere his chess drama Pawn Sacrifice, but over the weekend he spoke to young filmmakers from around the world at Films of City Frames. The Saturday morning event unveiled short films produced by New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts, University of Southern California’s School of Cinematic Arts, London’s National Film and Television School, Rome’s Centro Sperimentale di Cinematografia, Paris’ Groupe Esra and the Hong Kong Academy of the Performing Arts. The films featured the new line of sunglasses of sponsor Giorgio Armani, who presented the event with Rai Cinema and Luxottica in association with TIFF.

Best known for the films Glory, Blood Diamond and the TV series, Thirtysomething , the 61-year-old Zwick hosted a post-screening panel and fielded questions from an appreciative audience of budding filmmakers. His greatest piece of advice?  Read books. “Film,” he explained, “has become referential to other films. It’s very tempting to make an imitation of something you know works or like, and so your exploration becomes redundant.”

When viewing films by newcomers, Zwick looks for a unqiue voice that reflects the filmmaker’s personality. “Ask yourself about yourself and your point of view,” he urged. “Books first and experience second — travel, relationships, politics and all the things of engagement with the world.”

Read the rest of this article from Filmmaker Magazine.

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