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Wednesday, August 27, 2014

From the Mouths of Filmmakers: Amanda Rose Wilder

Amanda Rose Wilder
©Robin Holland/

By Amanda Rose Wilder and Joshua Handler 

Recently I've been disturbed by the amount of people who don't seek out independent films, non-English-language films, and classics.  So, I asked some of the most distinctive voices in independent and world cinema to submit responses to a few questions about why/if they think indies/non-English-language films/classics are important to view, and how those films have been influential on their careers.

The responses below are from Amanda Rose Wilder, director/producer/cinematographer of APPROACHING THE ELEPHANT, a cinéma vérité look at the first year of the Teddy McArdle Free School, "where all classes are voluntary and rules are determined by vote - adults and children have an equal say." The film had its world premiere at the 2014 True/False Film Fest and subsequently screened at BAMcinémaFest.

Do you feel that it is important for aspiring filmmakers and filmgoers to view independent and world cinema and why?
I'm not someone to tell others what should be important to them. If you make brilliant films and watch FIELD OF DREAMS each night for going on ten years straight, to quote PARIS IS BURNING, "hooray for you." Inspiration can come from anywhere - I think the key is to be aware of your voice - and the importance of that it's unique - and attuned for inspiration wherever it may come from - if you are, then you'll naturally want to 'study broadly,' to see what's out there.
Do you feel that it is important for aspiring filmmakers and filmgoers to view films of the past and why?
See above.
How did viewing indies and films from around the world help you when creating APPROACHING THE ELEPHANT?
There were a handful of films I would rewatch now and then while making APPROACHING THE ELEPHANT: The Maysles's GIMME SHELTER, Wiseman's films, especially HIGH SCHOOL and WELFARE, the Dardennes' LE FILS. When I was feeling constricted, these films would soften and enliven my gaze.
What's one English-language indie and one non-English-language film that you would recommend that film-lovers or young/aspiring filmmakers see?
For world cinema, one I saw recently: King Hu's A TOUCH OF ZEN. Rivette's CELINE AND JULIE GO BOATING.
From the Mouths of Filmmakers continues on Friday.

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