How does one discover one’s passion in life and achieve the highest level in one’s field to make a mark in the world? By overcoming challenges, exploring uncharted territory and trusting in your unlimited potential. Easier said than done, but that’s what filmmakers like Kathryn Bigelow, Martin Scorsese, James Cameron and Alejandro G. Iñárritu believe in. Collectively, the four directors have won 57 Academy Awards, and created unforgettable movies such as Zero Dark Thirty, The Departed, Avatar and The Revenant.
These four Rolex Testimonees in cinema personify excellence in their craft, and are committed to passing on their expertise to the next generation of filmmakers. The accomplished multi-hyphenates acknowledge that they were guided and inspired by filmmakers, teachers and others to break boundaries and strive for artistic greatness. Scorsese credits his university lecturer in New York, Haig Manoogian, with setting him on the path to greatness: “He set a fire in our hearts... If you were crazy enough to think that you have got to make a movie, he was the one who inspired you.”
Here, the four share their inspirations, motivations, and how being a mentor is often a two-way process.
Bigelow is the first and only woman to win an Academy Award for Best Director, for the 2008 political action thriller The Hurt Locker, which also won Best Picture. The American director has a natural flair for a strong visual narrative, and gravitates towards subjects with the ability to provoke change.
According to Bigelow, she would meet her mentor Lawrence Weiner a few times a week for over a decade, and he would always pose wonderful existential questions. “We would have these great, rigorous conversations that were in equal parts challenging, exciting and frustrating,” she says.
How does she perpetually get new ideas and inspiration? “Our minds are very elastic. We’re not like computers; we can’t hit delete. You have all of that information, all of those explorations, those discoveries, those influences, those inspirations. They live on in you,” she shares.
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