My Most Influential Film Directors

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Growing up watching movies non-stop you start to appreciate the role of the director, the story behind their success and what makes them special at their craft.

These are just some of the directors who have inspired my filmmaking adventures (really, there are hundreds of them).

George Lucas

Just about everyone who grew up as a filmmaker credits George Lucas and Star Wars as an inspiration, and it’s certainly true in this case as well.

Sure, the films are fantastic and were revolutionary when they came out, but it’s the persistence of this independent filmmaker to get the film off the ground, which is the most inspiring.

Favourite Film: Star Wars IV
Best Film: Star Wars IV
Underrated Film: THX 1138

Steven Spielberg

If filmmaking was basketball, Spielberg might be the Michael Jordan of the industry. His films have made a tonne of money and I’ve seen just about all of them.

Of course, I grew up with Indiana Jones so without question they are my favourite Spielberg films, (although it maybe an unpopular choice Temple of Doom was my favourite).

The one thing that resonates with me when I watch a Spielberg film as a filmmaker is his use of humour. I always find his subtle comic timing perfect for grounding a film and providing ‘real’ moments, regardless of the genre. This quality is something I feel like some films lack today.

Favourite Film: Temple of Doom
Best Film: ET
Underrated Film: Empire of the Sun

Terrance Malick

As a filmmaker Terrance Malick might be the biggest influence on my film Travel Warning.

His later work, in regards to storytelling, can be a bit confusing, but you don’t even care. You are just memorised.

When I watch them I feel transported to his world, letting the grandiose music and stunning images just wash over me. If I could choose any director whose films I wish were my own, it would be hard to go past some of Malick’s classic works.

Favourite Film: The New World
Best Film: The Thin Red Line
Underrated Film: The New World

Alfred Hitchcock

Growing up in the 80’s older directors like Hitchcock have to be found, rather than someone you’ve grown up with and their films.

Discovering Hitchcock films is a joy, very rarely disappointed by his remarkable talent and skill. A brilliant storyteller.

Favourite Film: Psycho
Best Film: Psycho
Underrated Film: Strangers on a Train

Werner Herzog

To be honest, I haven’t seen a great deal of Herzog’s films, so how is it possible he could be on the list? Easy. His cavalier independent spirit.

He has just about seen it all and filmed it all, managing to sustain a career in the industry whilst keeping his distance from Hollywood.

Listening or reading his interviews on the filmmaking process is both fascinating and insightful. You might be able to learn more from Herzog in a 60 minute than any film school in the world.

Favourite Film: Rescue Dawn
Best Film: Grizzly Man
Underrated Film: Bad Lieutenant
(haven’t seen many)

Ridley Scott

This man has sustained a career over four decades and still going strong. He seems to have a knack for creating diverse and memorable films in just about every genre. Whether it’s sword and sand epics with Gladiator or Sci Fi with Blade Runner, he’s a bonafide genius. He also creates sensational bonus features for his DVD and bluray releases. I can honestly say I’ve learn a lot from his commentaries and documentaries.

Favourite Film: Alien
Best Film: Blade Runner
Underrated Film: Prometheus

David Fincher

A good director, more often than not, works on great film scripts. A great director can take that script and make it brilliant. If there was one thing I can point in terms of appeal, it would be his style. It’s dark, it’s moody and it brilliant.

Favourite Film: Fight Club
Best Film: Seven
Underrated Film: Zodiac

Darren Aronofsky

Another Director whose career I have followed extensively. Take away the disappointment of Noah and you have one of the great independent filmmakers of our generation. His films push boundaries other filmmakers would be scared to touch. It was actually the film Black Swan which opened up my mind to the possibilities of DSLR film making. If Darren can use it, anyone can.

Favourite Film: The Fountain
Best Film: Requiem for a Dream
Underrated Film: The Fountain

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