Tag Archives: film

Nosferatu with Werner Herzog

Contributed by John Menier

32822“For such an advanced civilization as ours to be without images that are adequate to it is as serious a defect as being without memory.”
― Werner Herzog

The Carsey-Wolf Center at UC Santa Barbara has created a series entitled “Hollywood Berlin,” featuring screenings and discussions of films by five prominent German directors: Werner Herzog, Fritz Lang, Ernst Lubitsch, F.W. Murnau, and Billy Wilder. With the exception of Herzog these artists are representative of the wave of German exiles and immigrants who left Europe in the 1920s and 1930s to work in Hollywood, and counted among their number producers, directors, actors, writers, technicians, and cinematographers. In addition to their professional expertise that generation of émigrés brought European influences to American cinema, as reflected by film noir, increasing sophistication in comedies, and a willingness to address serious social issues.

In the inaugural program of “Hollywood Berlin” celebrated filmmaker Werner Herzog joins Carsey-Wolf Center Director Patrice Petro for a discussion of his film, “Nosferatu the Vampyre,” based on F.W. Murnau’s “Nosferatu, eine Symphonie des Grauens” (“Noserferatu, a Symphony of Horrors”). Upon the release of Herzog’s film in 1979 many critics expressed surprise at his choice of subject matter. Herzog was already well-known as the auteur of idiosyncratic art-house works based on his original screenplays. Pundits assumed that Herzog’s film was simply a remake of Murnau’s 1922 masterpiece, and they were puzzled. As Herzog explains in this program, that assumption was mistaken; his version of “Nosferatu” was intended not as a slavish imitation but as an homage both to Murnau’s film and to a seminal era of German filmmaking. In terms of plot and characters it falls midway between Bram Stoker’s novel “Dracula” and Murnau’s “Nosferatu” (which was an unauthorized version of Stoker’s novel), incorporating elements of both while adding the director’s well-known pictorial sense. Herzog sees his film as providing an explicit link between his generation, the “New German Cinema,” and what he calls “our grandfathers,” those movie-makers whose mass exodus left behind a German film industry that was moribund until the advent of Herzog, Fassbinder, Schlöndorff, Wenders, von Trotta, et al in the late 1960s and 1970s.

Using “Nosferatu” as a jumping-off point for conversation, Herzog elaborates on a variety of topics including his writing process, his relationships with collaborators, the importance of music, and his philosophy concerning the primacy of the image. He also addresses some of the myths and misconceptions (mythconceptions?) that have arisen from his storied career, most of which cast Herzog as an uncompromising artist who undertakes his projects with a humorless, single-minded zeal bordering on madness. While it’s true that the prolific Herzog is passionate about cinema – he once said that “we are starved for images, and it’s my duty to provide them” – he displays a healthy sardonic humor regarding himself and his public image. (“I am not Teutonic. I am Bavarian.”)

Witty, articulate, intellectually rigorous, and disarmingly honest, Werner Herzog is the perfect introduction to a series celebrating the work of German filmmakers past and present.

Watch Nosferatu with Werner Herzog

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Oscar Fever Continues

8232Still gripped by Oscar fever?

Then go behind-the-scenes of this year’s Oscar winners at the UCSB Pollock Theater. Presented by the Carsey-Wolf Center, Script to Screen examines the process of translating a film’s script to the big screen from the perspective of the writers, directors, producers, and actors.

Don’t miss these insightful interviews with the people behind this year’s Oscar-winning films:

29316The Grand Budapest Hotel
On creating the hotel: “It really started with maps. Rather than getting bogged down into making a fancy model or even really fancy sketches, which take a big time commitment to do, it was really sort of schematically laying it out…How do we lay that all out and get the action to flow?”

Go behind-the-scenes with production designer Adam Stockhausen and producer Jeremy Dawson who worked on Grand Budapest Hotel.

29315Whiplash
“The idea was to write the saddest happy ending I could imagine…because it is true that Fletcher, in every single way, gets exactly what he wants in the end. And that hopefully makes the ending a little troubling…that, you know, that kind of behavior gets rewarded.”

Writer/director Damien Chazelle discusses the process of creating Whiplash — the story of a promising young drummer and his ruthless teacher.

29040The Theory of Everything
“Stephen’s the character that everybody knows, obviously. …It was really fun to sort of delve into the domestic side of this world and see how much Jane — and often domestic carers in the world are not the most ‘sexy’ characters to bring forth in cinema — so I thought it was really wonderful how it was balanced.”

Screenwriter/producer Anthony McCarten and Producer Lisa Bruce talk about their film, The Theory of Everything.

Browse more programs from Script-to-Screen.

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Script to Screen- Hard Candy

Hear about the process in which a movie script makes it to the big screen as this latest episode of Script to Screen analyzes Hard Candy.

Screenwriter Brian Nelson and producer Richard Hutton of Vulcan Productions visit UC Santa Barbara to examine their popular production from it’s very roots, discussing inspirations for the plot and how they utilized the space of just one house for almost the entire film.

Nelson talks about how Hard Candy has distinguished his career, saying that he is now frequently approached to work on movies about psycho killers, brilliant teenage girls, and containment, not unlike one of his other films, 30 days of Night.

Watch “Script to Screen – Hard Candy” to learn more about the unique details of the movie’s production.

See what other films have been dissected in the Script to Screen series!

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A Movie’s Journey from Script to Screen

There are films that are undeniable works of art. Others are just plain awful. And then there are those movies that, when you stumble across them on cable for the hundredth time, demand to be watched yet again.

What makes a movie so undeniably watchable? If Hollywood had the answer, epic bombs would be a thing of the past. But one way to get at least a little bit closer to this elusive secret is to learn from those who’ve managed to do it themselves. That’s what the “Script to Screen” series from UC Santa Barbara’s Carsey-Wolf Center, now available online, offers as it brings together creative talent to share their stories behind some modern classics.

Script to Screen: Back to the Future
Screenwriter and producer Bob Gale joins Christopher Lloyd, who played Dr. Emmett Brown, to share rare insights into the ” Back to the Future” series.

Script to Screen: Dead Poets Society
“Dead Poets Society” won the Academy Award for Best Screenplay in 1989 and tells the story of an English teacher (Robin Williams) who uses poetry to inspire his students to seize the day and follow their own life path. Screenwriter Tom Schulman talks about writing the script, and inspires all of the screenwriters in the audience to pursue their own dreams.

10-thingsScript to Screen: 10 Things I Hate About You
Screenwriting duo Kirsten Smith and Karen McCullah Lutz bring down the house with their hilarious inside Hollywood stories. In addition to “10 Things I Hate About You,” their other films include “Legally Blonde,” “She’s the Man,” “The House Bunny,” “The Ugly Truth,” and “Ella Enchanted.”

If you’re craving more tales from the heart of Hollywood, check out the rest of the Carsey-Wolf series, named for legendary TV producers Marcy Carsey (“The Cosby Show,” “Roseanne”) and Dick Wolf (“Law & Order), featuring an impressive roster of talent making some of the most popular entertainment today.

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Go “Back to the Future” with Doc Brown (Christopher Lloyd) and Screenwriter Bob Gale

Back to the FutureToday it’s a permanent fixture in American popular culture, but the “Back to the Future” script was rejected over 40 times before it finally made it into production and, once it hit theaters in 1985, into our hearts.

In the first installment of the exciting new “Script to Screen” series from UC Santa Barbara’s esteemed Carsey-Wolf Center, legendary actor Christopher Lloyd, who so memorably portrayed flux capacitor inventor Dr. Emmett Brown, and “Back to the Future” screenwriter and producer Bob Gale sit down for an entertaining trip down memory lane as they share rare insights into the creation and enduring appeal of Marty McFly’s time travel adventures.

Watch “Script to Screen: Back to the Future,” online now. And stay tuned to UCTV for a conversation with “Dead Poets Society” screenwriter Tom Schulman and the hilarious Hollywood insider stories told by Kirsten Smith and Karen McCullah Lutz, writers of “10 Things I Hate About You,” “Legally Blonde,” and more.

If you’re into the business and creativity of the entertainment biz, then you’ll also want to check out all of our programs from the Carsey-Wolf Center, including a visit with “Modern Family” creator Steven Levitan and an assessment of the incomparable “Law & Order” franchise with its creator Dick Wolf and legendary TV producer Marcy Carsey (“Roseanne,” “The Cosby Show,” among many).

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