Who Wants to be a Filmmaker? Martin Scorsese Says You Need to Watch These Movies First

Who Wants to be a Filmmaker? Martin Scorsese Says You Need to Watch These Movies First

Oct 15, 2014

Film and animation maker Colin Levy, who currently works at Pixar Animation Studios as a camera and staging artist, was the recipient of the YoungArts award at the age of 19. It’s a talent-based scholarship program that spans the performing, visual and literary arts. The honor was presented to him in New York City by none other than Martin Scorsese. Levy was also given the opportunity to meet with Scorsese one on one, enjoy a personal tour of his office and check out his editing bays (where he met longtime Scorsese collaborator Thelma Schoonmaker). Levy describes meeting with the director:

"Martin Scorsese was intimidating, to say the least. But very jovial, very talkative, and he took me seriously. (Or convinced me, at least.) I pretty much kept my mouth shut. Every 30 seconds he would mention an actor, producer, director or film title I had never heard of before. I was stunned just to be in his presence. He liked my film, he said. “How did you do the little creatures?” I tried to explain how I figured out the basics of 3D animation. His eyes lit up and he started talking about the digital effects in The Aviator.

The juxtaposition of scales was overpowering. I felt like I was in a movie. Why he spent so much time with me I do not know, but it was amazing just to be in his presence. A few weeks afterwards I labored over a thank-you card, in which I expressed the overwhelming impression I had gotten that I don’t know enough about anything. I specially don’t know enough about film history and foreign cinema. I asked if he had any suggestions for where to start."

Soon enough, a few books and a list showed up at Levy’s door. Handpicked by the legendary director, Scorsese’s foreign-film favorites include silent classic Metropolis, influential Italian neorealist film Bicycle Thieves, and Werner Herzog’s Aguirre, The Wrath of God. While certainly missing some major foreign directors, the list, as Scorsese’s assistant indicates, is a good place to start. Grade your foreign-film education based on the Raging Bull director’s list and vow to rent the others ASAP, below.

 

 

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