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Read Martin Scorsese's open letter to his daughter about the future of film

Jan. 8, 2014by:

Director Martin Scorsese has already created a legacy of films that will long be remembered, revered, studied, and admired for a long time. He's crafted some of the finest films ever made, without question, and continues to ply his trade, most recently with THE WOLF OF WALL STREET. With the ever-changing landscape of film seemingly at a crossroads of change, particularly in the mass affordability and availability of filmmaking tools, the world of cinema is entering a revolutionary period, which Scorsese has taken heed of. As such, the director has penned an open letter to his youngest daughter, Francesca, about his optimism for the art of film, but with the caveat of rememebering what's most important in applying the craft. It's an inspiring and thoughtful piece, especially for budding filmmakers.

Dearest Francesca,

Im writing this letter to you about the future. Im looking at it through the lens of my world. Through the lens of cinema, which has been at the center of that world.

For the last few years, Ive realized that the idea of cinema that I grew up with, thats there in the movies Ive been showing you since you were a child, and that was thriving when I started making pictures, is coming to a close. Im not referring to the films that have already been made. Im referring to the ones that are to come.

I dont mean to be despairing. Im not writing these words in a spirit of defeat. On the contrary, I think the future is bright.

We always knew that the movies were a business, and that the art of cinema was made possible because it aligned with business conditions. None of us who started in the 60s and 70s had any illusions on that front. We knew that we would have to work hard to protect what we loved. We also knew that we might have to go through some rough periods. And I suppose we realized, on some level, that we might face a time when every inconvenient or unpredictable element in the moviemaking process would be minimized, maybe even eliminated. The most unpredictable element of all? Cinema. And the people who make it.

I dont want to repeat what has been said and written by so many others before me, about all the changes in the business, and Im heartened by the exceptions to the overall trend in moviemaking Wes Anderson, Richard Linklater, David Fincher, Alexander Payne, the Coen Brothers, James Gray and Paul Thomas Anderson are all managing to get pictures made, and Paul not only got The Master made in 70mm, he even got it shown that way in a few cities. Anyone who cares about cinema should be thankful.

And Im also moved by the artists who are continuing to get their pictures made all over the world, in France, in South Korea, in England, in Japan, in Africa. Its getting harder all the time, but theyre getting the films done.

But I dont think Im being pessimistic when I say that the art of cinema and the movie business are now at a crossroads. Audio-visual entertainment and what we know as cinema moving pictures conceived by individuals appear to be headed in different directions. In the future, youll probably see less and less of what we recognize as cinema on multiplex screens and more and more of it in smaller theaters, online, and, I suppose, in spaces and circumstances that I cant predict.

So why is the future so bright? Because for the very first time in the history of the art form, movies really can be made for very little money. This was unheard of when I was growing up, and extremely low budget movies have always been the exception rather than the rule. Now, its the reverse. You can get beautiful images with affordable cameras. You can record sound. You can edit and mix and color-correct at home. This has all come to pass.

But with all the attention paid to the machinery of making movies and to the advances in technology that have led to this revolution in moviemaking, there is one important thing to remember: the tools dont make the movie, you make the movie. Its freeing to pick up a camera and start shooting and then put it together with Final Cut Pro. Making a movie the one you need to make - is something else. There are no shortcuts.

If John Cassavetes, my friend and mentor, were alive today, he would certainly be using all the equipment thats available. But he would be saying the same things he always said you have to be absolutely dedicated to the work, you have to give everything of yourself, and you have to protect the spark of connection that drove you to make the picture in the first place. You have to protect it with your life. In the past, because making movies was so expensive, we had to protect against exhaustion and compromise. In the future, youll have to steel yourself against something else: the temptation to go with the flow, and allow the movie to drift and float away.

This isnt just a matter of cinema. There are no shortcuts to anything. Im not saying that everything has to be difficult. Im saying that the voice that sparks you is your voice thats the inner light, as the Quakers put it.

Thats you. Thats the truth.

All my love,

Dad

Martin Scorsese's THE WOLF OF WALL STREET is currently in theaters.

Source: L'Espresso

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5:41PM on 01/09/2014
Bless you, "Uncle Marty".
Bless you, "Uncle Marty".
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5:36AM on 01/09/2014

Lovely

Where's my camera? Let's go use our voices and make some damn fine cinema.
Where's my camera? Let's go use our voices and make some damn fine cinema.
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+13
6:28PM on 01/08/2014

OPEN LETTER???

Why didn't he just go in her room and tell her??
Why didn't he just go in her room and tell her??
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3:23PM on 01/08/2014
James Gray an Linklater got shoutouts. Nice
James Gray an Linklater got shoutouts. Nice
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-17
12:53PM on 01/08/2014

yeah, an open letter to his "daughter"

if this was really for his daughter he would have just handed it to her. this is an open letter for the public to read, pretentiously and dishonestly stated to be something more personal for his daughter.

yawn.
if this was really for his daughter he would have just handed it to her. this is an open letter for the public to read, pretentiously and dishonestly stated to be something more personal for his daughter.

yawn.
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1:19PM on 01/08/2014
I'm glad that somebody else was thinking what I was. I love Marty.... but this was kind of.... yeah. Pretentious.
I'm glad that somebody else was thinking what I was. I love Marty.... but this was kind of.... yeah. Pretentious.
1:25PM on 01/08/2014
I thought the same thing. I like the message by why would he make a message like this personally for his daughter?
I thought the same thing. I like the message by why would he make a message like this personally for his daughter?
2:05PM on 01/08/2014
Lol..thinking the same
Lol..thinking the same
2:22PM on 01/08/2014
http://bit.ly/1cBA3wL
http://bit.ly/1cBA3wL
4:25PM on 01/08/2014
Is it not ironic that Paul Shirey, of all people, posts a link to an online dictionary? Perhaps he is turning over a new leaf in 2014. One of fewer spelling and grammatical errors. Hooray!
Is it not ironic that Paul Shirey, of all people, posts a link to an online dictionary? Perhaps he is turning over a new leaf in 2014. One of fewer spelling and grammatical errors. Hooray!
4:54PM on 01/08/2014
Thanks Robsquatch!

Send me your term papers, kiddo!
Thanks Robsquatch!

Send me your term papers, kiddo!
5:50PM on 01/08/2014
I also agree. This sounds like some weird PR thing where he's using his daughter to make himself sound like a wise sage. If he was really interested in her, he'd ask her what she's about and spend time, maybe this subject would come up.

Scorsese has enough status in the industry to just speak his own mind - why not, an open letter to the next generation of filmmakers...? Smells bad when parents use their children to advance their own causes.
I also agree. This sounds like some weird PR thing where he's using his daughter to make himself sound like a wise sage. If he was really interested in her, he'd ask her what she's about and spend time, maybe this subject would come up.

Scorsese has enough status in the industry to just speak his own mind - why not, an open letter to the next generation of filmmakers...? Smells bad when parents use their children to advance their own causes.
12:42PM on 01/08/2014

"[...] there is one important thing to remember: the tools dont make the movie, you make the movie"

Wise words from a wise man.
Wise words from a wise man.
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12:31PM on 01/08/2014

o:

Every year I really only like a a few movies. Some of them are getting through. Not everything can be a winner.
Every year I really only like a a few movies. Some of them are getting through. Not everything can be a winner.
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12:27PM on 01/08/2014
Beautifully-written. I hope this not only inspires his daughter but any budding filmmaker out there who dreams of turning it around and continuing in the tradition of excellent cinema filmmakers such as Scorsese have exemplified. Hugo was a moving, enchanting love letter to the history of film and it sounds like he wrote this open letter with the same spirit he made that film.
Beautifully-written. I hope this not only inspires his daughter but any budding filmmaker out there who dreams of turning it around and continuing in the tradition of excellent cinema filmmakers such as Scorsese have exemplified. Hugo was a moving, enchanting love letter to the history of film and it sounds like he wrote this open letter with the same spirit he made that film.
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+13
12:21PM on 01/08/2014
I adore Martin Scorsese, not just because he's my favorite director of all time, not just because of all the work he's done for film preservation, but because of his unbridled optimism in the face of some scary changes to the industry. Even when the art of film seems at its lowest point, it doesn't get him down, and as an aspiring filmmaker, he's downright inspiring.

Not to mention, he must be a pretty damn cool father!
I adore Martin Scorsese, not just because he's my favorite director of all time, not just because of all the work he's done for film preservation, but because of his unbridled optimism in the face of some scary changes to the industry. Even when the art of film seems at its lowest point, it doesn't get him down, and as an aspiring filmmaker, he's downright inspiring.

Not to mention, he must be a pretty damn cool father!
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12:18PM on 01/08/2014
Wow. What a great father, man, and artist.
Wow. What a great father, man, and artist.
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