How many Directors do you actually know? I meet people who are quick to name Steven Spielberg, Quentin Tarantino, Martin Scorsese, James Cameron – you know, the titans of filmmaking. Ironically, the same people will have a favourite film that was not directed by any of the names above.
The directors of our favourite films seem invisible – a rather disconcerting thought. You’d be amazed at how amazed you’d be to find out that finding out (no need to read that again, there’s no mistake in the sentence) the names of the producer, writer, director, cinematographer, editor and everyone else behind the scenes – adds immensely to the whole cinema experience. Actors seem to get the most recognition. Aesthetically speaking, these are the people we connect with throughout the entire film – they are the salt in the food; they cannot be ignored.
The director is like the chef of the restaurant you’ve just visited. You’ll appreciate the food but you will hardly think about finding out who actually prepared it. You’ll go and tell it on the mountain about this great restaurant with this amazing food; but you won’t be able to tell them about the amazing chef; or the amazing team of people who made that amazing experience possible. Billboards and posters will usually have names of actors in large text and the other names will be in small text – movie lovers would be forgiven for not feeling the need to read the small text.
Let’s not even get started on the end credits! Let’s just not! Film Festivals are one of the many events dedicated to creating a platform that allows people behind the scenes to be brought to the forefront. You do not need to go to film school to appreciate the theory and process behind filmmaking; you simply need to attend screening events in which the filmmaker is present. This does not need to be a blockbuster film – it could be a short film by an extremely talented local filmmaker; every little support helps. The next time you are looking forward to a film; you might want to do a bit of research to find out about each of the people behind the production. I hope that’s not asking too much from you. Allow me to leave you with stills/images from a couple of great films and iconic cinema figures that might leave some of you nostalgic:
The author is a young Rwandan filmmaker, Coordinator of Rwanda Film Festival.