April 13, 2010

Francis Ford Coppola: Spiritual Leader of the Video File-Sharing Movement


Why? ...due to the prediction/dream he made over 15 years ago about his hope for the future of film-making. See it below.

Do see the documentary that this quote/verbatim was included in: Hearts of Darkness: A Filmmaker's Apocalypse; about the making of the film, "Apocalypse Now."

In light of this weekend, where we experience all types of freedoms and remember those who paid the ultimate sacrifice, one thing we should also remember is the very ignored necessary ingredient that made all of new media possible; the freedom of speech. If it wasn't for that, there would be no file-sharing, no blogs, no online communities... in short, no nothin'. You make up your own mind. Here it is, spoken in 1991.

"To me, the great hope is that now [that] these little 8-millimeter video recorders and stuff [have] come out, some... just people who normally wouldn't be making movies, are going to be making them. You know, that suddenly one day, some little FAT girl in Ohio is going to be the next Mozart and make a beautiful film with her little father's camcorder. And for once, this whole "professionalism" about movie making will be destroyed forever and lead into an art form... That's my opinion." -Francis Ford Coppola

As captured by his wife, Eleanor Coppola, the purpose of the documentary was to cover his and her pretty ugly experiences in Southeast Asia.

As an in-depth real-life look at Coppola's heroic example to all fledgling film makers, the documentary exposes the endless production problems of almost horrific proportions that would have killed the project by most everyone in the business. We learn that it actually did 40 years before when Orson Welles had earlier tried to produce "Hearts of Darkness", a script which Coppola's film was based on. Ironically, Welles went on to write, produce and direct "Citizen Kane," which ultimately killed his career.

"Apocalypse" was challenged with bad luck such as the lead actor, Martin Sheen, having a heart-attack during production, the film about a war actually being produced during one, in an actual war-zone. Helicopters used in the film were often taken off the set and sent into actual battle (in the Philippines.) Besides those challenges, the film went so far over budget that he had to mortgage his home and all his assets. Originally planned to be filmed over 16 days, the movie was wrapped 272 days later. Francis wrote, produced and directed it himself.

It's interesting that when Francis spoke about his vision for the future of film-making, he emphasized and almost shouted the word "fat" in his wrap-up statement at the end of the documentary. It's impossible to ignore. He may have been speaking from an overly personal view. Our other observation was that he really meant that future movie-makers would not "have to be just a pretty face" to make it in film.


Eleanor's video shows us that it was a film produced by Coppola's wife and children as much as by him; who were on the set during the entire production. No doubt this experience gave his daughter, Sofia the right stuff to make some of the best thought-provoking films in contemporary culture.

In the end, we see Coppola's "Apocalypse" and Eleanor's "Apocalypse"; as your basic "Mom & Pop" family-affair approach, sometimes seen (but not enough) today in some truly meaningful video shorts. They are from the heart.

The Editors

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