Sustaining a Creative Life

So how do we continue to grow as filmmakers?  What facilitates risk taking?

What’s the fuel that sustains a compelling, artistically vibrant, decades long career – Picasso, Hawks – versus a career that seems to turn out more of the same – Clint Eastwood?

Eastwood reminds me of why I’m glad that I started my career in the Actors Studio.   There is value to working out of a community of fellow artists, peers and superiors who can challenge and push you.  Grand Torino made me feel very, very tired.  The themes, Eastwood being framed by much less experienced actors of color.  Getting credit for racing racial issues at all but not really dealing with them in a new or very interesting way.

Another thing I know for sure is that the filmmakers don’t make enough films.  The cost, the complexity despite the tantalizing promise of digital keeps most people on the sidelines.

I wonder what kind of actors Angelina Jolie or Halle Berry would be if they’d made say half the films that Joan Crawford had made by their age.  Would Tarantino find a new, more artistic way to channel his love of the B-film?

My role model here is Spike Lee.  His constant productivity has returned him to where I think he really shines – the documentary.  For my money, When The Levees Broke and earlier, 4 Little Girls, made the best use of Lee’s engagement with the art cinema and realist traditions. Would he have found that voice if he were working at the pace of Soderbergh?

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About liftingasweclimb

Mildred Lewis writes and directs for theater, television, film and the web. She's also a full time professor, Christian, activist and troublemaker with a passion to save as much of the world as she can.
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