Why Alfonso Cuaron Doesn’t Think Going to Film School Is Necessary Today and What He Got the Most Out Of It
About a month ago, BAFTA LA uploaded what is probably one of my favorite talk with a filmmaker, presently Alfonso Cuaron. Mexican filmmaker Alfonso Cuaron belongs to the group of filmmakers who defeated the odds, coming from a middle-class family that had no ties with cinema, in a country close to America and yet, far from being America when it came to the industry, with a kid on the way in his early twenties etc.
And yet, with 5 features over two decades, Cuaron has established himself as one of the strongest voice in current cinema, capable of bringing is touch to films as diverse as an intimate road-trip to a mega franchise, a dystopian sci-fi to a trip in space.
What makes this conversation so precious is how genuine Cuaron is about his career and his choices. A man of passion, Cuaron recognizes that what often makes him do a new film was that he ran out of money. It would sound terrible said if it wasn’t for the high quality of Cuaron’s resume and the limited amount of films he did: Cuaron would rather spend years working on projects he loves than shooting for the sake of making films. I can relate.
Over the 50 minutes Cuaron goes through his entire career, starting from his childhood up until Gravity. One little known fact is that Cuaron, along with long-time friend and collaborator Cinematographer Emmanul Lubezki, got kicked out of film school in Mexico. There has been debates for many years now about the pros and cons of going to film school, and if it is worth paying thousands and thousands of dollars to learn how to make film and/or to build a network, and here is Cuaron’s take on the matter:
“Look, I think film schools are fantastic. I love film school in the sense that you create a community. I started working with Emmanuel Lubezki in film school, and he was expelled as well. But I think that the new generations in a way, they don’t need film school, in the sense that for us making film was this big white elephant. It was something inaccessible, expensive, that seemed that you had to have a lot of connections and go through the threads. Now the thing is that any kid does film with their iphones. They have seen enough Behind-the-Scenes and Making-Ofs that they know the whole thing. I still think that film schools are fantastic because of the community. You get to start working with a group of people that is passionate and in the same journey than you. And that’s what I got the most out of film school and, you know, I still work with Lubezki.”
A must-watch for filmmakers:
Via BAFTA LA