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David Poland

By David Poland poland@moviecitynews.com

The Male Director Challenge: 2009 (Year 10 of 15)

Another year of 7 new directors under the boundaries of this survey.

Grosser #20 Taken – Pierre Morel – Part of the Besson crew. Made the epic B-13 before this. Studio pick-up.

Grosser #26 G-Force – Hoyt Yeatman – FX guy gets FX movie.

Grosser #27 District 9 – Neill Blomkamp – His homemade short got a ton of attention and support and it transformed into his first feature.

Grosser #29 Couples Retreat – Peter Billingsley – Former child actor turned film producer takes his shot at directing.

Grosser #30 Paranormal Activity – Oren Peli – They made the film for nothing… sold it to Paramount… rest is history.

Grosser #42 Zombieland – Ruben Fleischer – Short film maker, best I can tell.

Grosser #45 Hotel for Dogs – Thor Freudenthal – Made short films that led to this low-budget opportunity.

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2 Responses to “The Male Director Challenge: 2009 (Year 10 of 15)”

  1. Delgado says:

    Yesssssssssssssssssssssssss! The MALE DIRECTOR CHALLENGE is back and better than ever! Feels like Thanksgiving came early this year!!!

  2. chad ndjamen says:

    It’s funny how you are discounting music video and commercials experience and awards in this analysis. Thor Freudenthal I remember, because his agents kept sending his directorial reel as far back as 2007 for every job available at the company I worked at. I remember there were a lot of commercials in it. The guy was like some award winning commercial director. I believe I may be wrong, too lazy to check but he was a DGA award nominee as well for his work.

    Some of these guys on all your lists may have backgrounds in this arenas that you are missing.

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“But okay, I promise you now that if I ever retire again, I’m going to ensure that I can’t walk it back. I’ll post a series of the most disgusting, offensive, outrageous statements you can ever imagine. That way it will be impossible for me to ever be employed again. No one is going to take my calls. No one is going to want to be seen with me. Oh, it will be scorched earth. I will have torched everything. I’m going to flame out in the most legendary fashion.”
~ Steven Soderbergh

I feel strongly connected to young cinephile culture. The thing about filmmaking—and cinephilia—is that you can’t keep hanging out with your own age group as you get older. They drop off, move somewhere. You can’t put together a crew of sixty-somethings. It’s the same for cinephilia: my original set of cinephile friends are watching DVDs at home or delving into 1958 episodes of ‘Gunsmoke,’ something like that. The people who are out there tend to be young, and I happen to be doing the same thing still, so it’s natural that I move in their circles.

In terms of the filmmaking, there was a gear shift: my first movies focused on people around my age, and I followed them for three films. Until The Unspeakable Act, I was using the same actors, not because of an affinity for people at a specific age, but because of my affinity for the actors. I like to work with actors a second time, especially if I don’t feel confident casting a new film. But The Unspeakable Act was a different script, and I had to cast all new people. Even for the older roles, I couldn’t get the people I’d worked with before. But when it was over, the same thing happened: I wanted to work with Tallie again in the worst way, and I started the process all over again.

I think Rohmer did something similar around the time of Perceval and Catherine de HeilbronnHe developed new groups of people that he liked to work with. These gear shifts are natural. Even if you want to follow certain actors to the end of their life (which I kind of do) the variety of ideas that you generate makes it necessary to change. And once you’ve made the change, you’ve got all these new people around.”
~ Dan Sallitt