Tag Archives: movies

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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Are You Serious About Movies?

8232If you are someone that enjoys going behind the scenes with filmmakers, directors, screenwriters and others involved in the film industry, check out the amazing line-up from the Carsey-Wolf Center at UC Santa Barbara.

From the blockbuster to the independent film, you will be treated to fascinating stories and insights into the process of making films from those actually doing it.

Carl Gottlieb – Jaws
Don Hertzfeldt – Two time Oscar-nominated independent filmmaker
Sherief Elkatsha – Cairo Drive
Michael Miner – Robocop
Josh Singer – Spotlight
Iva Radivojevic – Evaporating Borders

and coming soon:

David Gerrold – Star Trek: The Trouble with Tribbles

Browse Carsey-Wolf Center’s Script to Screen to find the writers of your favorite movies.

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Fourth Season of Script to Screen a Big Success

8232The UCSB Script to Screen series just completed its fourth and most successful season to date. We hosted three special Academy screenings (Whiplash, The Theory of Everything, and The Grand Budapest Hotel) where we connected Oscar nominees with students and the Santa Barbara Academy/Guild community. We also expanded our series to include a focus on television with our 10th Anniversary of Lost with Executive Producer/Director Jack Bender. This season our guests of honor shared key lessons about the importance of personally connecting to the material as well as having a family-esque support system to help bring the script to the screen.

Here are some special quotes from our guest artists:

29040The Theory of Everything with Oscar-nominated screenwriter Anthony McCarten:

“In 2004, that was the real catalyzing moment for me when I read Jane Hawking’s auto-biography. Everything I thought I knew about Stephen Hawking was displaced by everything I didn’t know. This was a unique, emotional insight into his private life. This incredible love story, very much one of a kind, unprecedented in some ways, challenging, heartbreaking, triumphant. I thought if I can get the rights to that book and marry it with the public world and what we know of Stephen and his public story, you know we would really have something special.”

29315Whiplash with Oscar-nominated writer/director Damien Chazelle:

“I was a drummer when I was in high school, and I had a teacher that was very much in this mold. It was the sort of thing where drumming had been this sort of hobby for myself that I did not take that seriously. As soon as I got in the orbit of this conductor/this teacher and his big band that he ran, he suddenly felt like life or death everyday. I felt the worse thing possible would be to screw up a hit or a beat. I just remember the daily dose of dread that I would feel during that time. I don’t play that much anymore, but you get a lot of fodder from that sort of emotional experience. It occurred to me that there might be a subject for a movie there.”

28922500 Days of Summer with screenwriter Scott Neustadter:

“This was very much a cathartic thing. I’d been broken up with, didn’t understand why, could not accept that it was just that she didn’t feel the same and then a minute later she got engaged, and I was like, What in the world? I was writing to put it all out there.”

The UCSB Script to Screen series returns in October 2015 for its 5th season. This coming year we will be expanding to include more actors on the stage with the screenwriter. Plus, we are currently planning a major event with a frontrunner to the 2016 Best Picture nominee and with a very special guest.

Browse all programs 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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