Who is the author of a film?

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Thik Nongyow, Aug 26, 2002.

  1. Thik Nongyow

    Thik Nongyow Stunt Coordinator

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    Film school students or graduates are welcome.

    Since film-making is unlike writing a novel or play because many people are involved from screenwriters to the director, who actually "authored" the film?

    The Director's Guild of America argued that a film's director is the author, but the studios will insist that the studio that created a film is its author. What about the producers and the screenwriters?
     
  2. Jim_K

    Jim_K Executive Producer

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    For the most part I lean toward the Autuer Theory.

    The autuer theory credits the artistic/thematic aspects of a film to a single creative individual (usually the director).
     
  3. Damin J Toell

    Damin J Toell Producer

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    It depends on the context of "author." For copyright purposes, for example, the author of most films is its production company, as they are works made for hire. For example, I have Resevoir Dogs in front of me, which notes that the film's copyright is owned by Dog Eat Dog Productions.
    DJ
     
  4. Morgan Jolley

    Morgan Jolley Lead Actor

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    I would say that by logic it would be the screenwriter, but since film is a visual medium I would say the Director is the one who pulls it all together, so they would be the author.
     
  5. Mark Palermo

    Mark Palermo Second Unit

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    It's hard to pinpoint the author in a single position, but I agree that it's usually primarily the director. I've personally never been a big fan of the auteur theory (divised by Andrew Sarris and various other writers for the french publication Les cahiers du cinema.) While I appreciate the way it manages to cull meaning by analyzing a director's specific work (themes, styles) in relation to his or her other films,it has inescapable problems--not the least of which is its shifting approach to an artwork's merit based on whose name is attached to it.

    Mark
     
  6. Luc D

    Luc D Second Unit

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    Cinema is somewhat unique among the arts in that (most of the time) it requires a collaborative effort. However, most film theorists would point to the director as the auteur. Yes, writing is important, but what makes film "film" is montage (i.e. editing).

    Still, perhaps not all films have a clear auteur. The director of an industrial film such as "The Sum of All Fears" is not what I would consider to be an auteur. Rather, auteur theory is best supported by the French New Wave filmmakers, Welles, Hitchcock, Kubrick, Fellini, and for more recent examples the Coen Brothers, Lars Von Trier, David Lynch... and so on.

    Just to add to what Mark has said... Auteur theory was originally concocted by François Truffaut in an essay called (roughly translated) "A Certain Tendency of the French Cinema" where he challenged the "assembly line" filmmaking that populated most screens at the time. This general idea was then elaborated upon a few years later by Andrew Sarris (his work on the subject was much more thorough).
     
  7. Michael Reuben

    Michael Reuben Studio Mogul

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  8. Guy Martin

    Guy Martin Second Unit

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    I'm also not a big fan of auteur theory since it tends to denigrate the very important contributions of the other cast and crew members. Personally I'm a big fan of Willam Goldman's notion that a film has nine auteurs all of whom need to be at their best in order for a film to succeed: Director, Writer, Cinematographer, Producer, Editor, Actor(s), Production Designer, Sound Designer and Composer. If all of them aren't in synch, the film is doomed.
    - Guy
     
  9. Luc D

    Luc D Second Unit

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