The Impact of Francis Ford Coppola on the Next Generation

March 26, 2011 A DGA 75th Anniversary Event

1998 DGA Lifetime Achievement Award recipient Francis Ford Coppola was the subject of the Guild’s 75th Anniversary event on March 26. Coppola, the winner of two DGA Feature Film Awards (The Godfather and The Godfather Part II) and multiple nominations (The Conversation; Apocalypse Now; The Godfather Part III) was honored at the DGA Theater in Los Angeles.

In addition to his DGA Award-nominated work, Coppola’s filmography includes Tetro, Youth Without Youth, The Rainmaker, Jack, Bram Stoker’s Dracula, Tucker: The Man and His Dream, Peggy Sue Got Married, The Cotton Club, Rumble Fish, The Outsiders, One from the Heart, The Rain People, Finian’s Rainbow and his upcoming release Twixt Now and Sunrise. As a producer, Coppola worked to provide young independent filmmakers freedom from studio interference. He was also a pioneer of technological filmmaking advances like pre-visualization, word processing for screenplays, electronic editing and experimentation with high definition.

“Francis Ford Coppola is one of the most influential and innovative filmmakers of our time,” said DGA President Taylor Hackford in his welcome. “His work has helped shape contemporary cinema around the world.”

Coppola was joined onstage by directors P.T. Anderson (There Will Be Blood), Catherine Hardwicke (Red Riding Hood) and David O. Russell (The Fighter), for a conversation about the impact his films had on their own careers and others of their generation. Each of the directors presented clips from Coppola’s work to form the basis of their conversation. 75th Anniversary Advisory Committee Chair Michael Apted served as moderator.

“Francis’ influence lies not only in the awards he’s won or the films he’s directed, but also in the example he’s set for young directors,” said Apted.

Ever humble, the legendary director attributed much of his success to his creative collaborators. “Film is an ensemble,” said Coppola. “You’re the ringleader, but hopefully you have all of this wonderful work coming out of people whom you inspire, but also inspire you.”

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