Andrei Tarkovsky’s Advice to Young Filmmakers
In 1983 while in Italy prepping for Nostalghia, Andrei Tarkovsky and writer Tonino Guerra shot Voyage in Time, a 63-minute documentary that screened at Cannes’ Un Certain Regard in 1995.
Asked by an Italian ‘fan’ what advice he would give to young filmmakers, Tarkovsky gave two advice that transcends time:
Today (aka 30 years after) it would sound odd and maybe even pretentious for a filmmaker to give that advice to aspiring filmmakers. As a matter of fact, I don’t recall any contemporary director mentioning filmmaking and moral in the same sentence. Yet, aspiring filmmakers, just like aspiring lawyers or doctors, often start with ideals and dreams, and with the desire to tell a meaningful story (or so I like to think).
Along the way (just like lawyers and doctors) ‘bigger problems and preoccupations arise’ (economic pressure, social pressure etc.) and we can lose track of what we want to say finding out how to say it (equipment, technique, equipment, technique!) and how to have it seen (festivals, distribution, agents, managers, winning prizes Bla Bla Bla).
Tarkovsky’s advice points out to one possible definition of ‘Filmmaker’. The noblest or purest, one could say. Probably the one that is unlikely to bring you economical rest and mainstream fame, but deciding on which side of the fence you want to stand belongs to you.
The first two minute of the video below shows the full length of Tarkovsky’s answer. Note that he was already saying things like:
“Nowadays everyone make movies. Everybody think they can make movies. Anyone that is not too lazy.”
Seems like the perception we have of the industry is not changing as fast as we think it is.
Thanks to @openculture