Guanajuato 2014: Roger Corman's Master Class (Recap And Photos)

Contributor; Mexico City, Mexico (@EricOrtizG)

B movie king Roger Corman was honored this year at the Guanajuato International Film Festival (GIFF). 

A selection of both Corman-directed and produced films were screened during the festival, at such venues as the city's Teatro Juarez, the graveyard, and the university. Corman presented all of them in Guanajuato Capital (one of the two cities that hosted the festival), staying up late to visit the graveyard where such films as The Tomb of Ligeia and The Pit and the Pendulum were shown. 

I arrived late to the celebration but still just in time for the main homage and the master class. On Friday, August 1, the festival's official homage to Corman happened at the Teatro Juarez. It began with a video that introduced Roger Corman to the audience (with footage ripped off mostly from the documentary Corman's World: Exploits of a Hollywood Rebel), and with the legend himself talking for a few minutes about The Intruder, the chosen film for the night. He said The Intruder was a very personal film and probably the best he has ever made. 

On Saturday, August 2, the master class was held, which you can read about below. Corman talked about some of his films as well, and you can find what he said on The Fast and the Furious, The Little Shop of Horrors, The Intruder, The Wild Angels, The Trip, and Grand Theft Auto in the gallery below; which also includes very cool, exclusive photos of Corman in Mexico! Read on.

oger Corman's GIFF 2014 Master Class

Photo Credit: Claudia Aguilar Guarneros

A day later, on Saturday, August 2, the GIFF offered Corman's master class at the Auditorio del Estado; sadly, not many people attended this event, but for sure it was their loss, as Corman had never visited a Mexican festival before and, ultimately, the one-hour chat between Corman, a moderator, and the audience, was nothing less than magnificent and, certainly, a true filmmaking lesson from one of the great living legends.

Many themes composed the master class, but you could tell that the audience's main interest was on the how to make your movie aspect and on Corman's role as a mentor for younger filmmakers. For Corman himself, the films he directed are as important as the "Roger Corman film school" that graduated such talents as Jack Nicholson, Martin Scorsese, Ron Howard, Joe Dante, John Sayles, and James Cameron. "The Academy gave me an Oscar not for any specific film but as a lifetime achievement award. My work as a filmmaker and helping young directors is equally important", said the 88-year-old Corman.

The fact that his company New World Pictures distributed foreign auteur cinema in the U.S., by the likes of Ingmar Bergman, Federico Fellini, Alain Resnais, and François Truffaut, was also discussed during the master class. Corman admitted that while he enjoyed a good relationship with, say, Bergman, he never had a deeper friendship with any of these directors.

Another key subject of the chat was the digital vs. celluloid debate. Corman considers digital better in terms of production, as you can shoot faster, and thinks it is very debatable and questionable the saying that 35 or 16 mm looks better than digital. Corman also confirmed that, compared to the days of New World Pictures, today it is much easier to produce a film yet is way harder to distribute it.

"All of our films got theatrical release. Today, the studios with their $200 million products dominate theatrical distribution so much that independents can't sustain a company through theatrical release", said Corman, who also believes the theory that both Steven Spielberg and George Lucas have about many major Hollywood blockbusters flopping at the box office in the near future. For Corman, that might open the door for the independents to distribute their movies.

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GIFF 2014Guanajuato International Film FestivalRoger Corman

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