Re-thinking Auteur in Educating Film Directors

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Abstract

Since la nouvelle vague, the European auteur cinema has been strongly rooted in the model of a single artistic vision which is the director´s. In the modern era of digitization, and due to the significant changes in the financing field there has been a great market shift from European art house cinema into producer led, more industrialized processes where feature film is regarded as one product along with others such as TV drama series, web series. As also the technical scope of platforms is widening rapidly, it might be tempting to think that the need for auteur directors is diminishing.

However, in the time of rapidly changing distribution platforms and formats there could be an even greater need for strong director´s professional role and artistic vision. But this role may not function in a purely auteur way anymore. Therefore, I suggest the director´s role as the main artistic leader should be reexamined. Regarding vision and artistic leadership, what could be the capital of the director if not sole authorship? This article will be based on my long professional teaching experience in various film schools along with directing career of 20 years and also on my current directing courses at ELO Film School where I build and test various pedagogical approaches and directing tools in search of new kind of authorship of the director.

New professional directing tools?

There is a greater need for modern artistic leadership in art cinema. From educational point of view, I suggest we should re-define auteur and re-model it to modern authorship. By this I mean leadership of collective creation and more group and process orientation in film making. I suggest we could implement the modern theatre concept of devising into film directing. In order to update directing we could teach our directing students strategic skills and communication skills, inclusive methodology on actor directing. Instead of an auteur, the director could be seen as a connector, facilitator and artistic process leader.

In practice this would mean teaching directing students meta level skills such as connective tools – how to communicate bidirectionally, how to find a mutual language? Directorial methodologies could be rethought: instead of telling, the director could direct by asking. We could put more emphasis on strategic skills, processes on how to form a vision collectively or how to encounter ensemble? By implementing modern theatre practices into film making processes we could approach film making in a fresh way. In other words, there would still be one artistic vision, but the process on how to create this vision is not necessarily one´s own but evolves through collaborative process.

Summary

Art, vision and auteur are still very valid elements of independent art cinema. However, this vast change of platforms has opened new demands for what is and what could be the director´s professional role in the new audiovisual era? In this aspect, the more we move on towards non-linear platforms and technically lighter production processes, I suggest the more we need modern artistic leadership. The capital of a director does not only evolve from educating linear practices of film makings, but also thinking skills and creative leadership. In this respect, the new professional role of the director could be seen as a motivator and activator instead of self-sufficient auteur.

Details

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publication21st Century Film, TV & Media School Book Project Volume 2
Subtitle of host publicationDirecting the Future
EditorsStanislav Semerdjiev, Maria Dora Mourão
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 14 Aug 2018
MoE publication typeD2 Article in professional manuals or guides or professional information systems or text book material

Publication series

Name21st Century Film, TV & Media School Book Project
PublisherCILECT The International Association of Film and Television Schools
Volume1

ID: 31177414