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Old March 17th, 2004, 01:23 AM   #1
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"a Film By Someone" means?

when you see in the movies "a film by Nawaf Alali", is that the producer, director or the writter?
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Old March 17th, 2004, 01:43 AM   #2
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Generally the director.
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Old March 17th, 2004, 01:44 AM   #3
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Sometimes it's a 'Robert Evans production of a Roman Polanski Film.' That would obviously be producer and director.
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Old March 17th, 2004, 02:08 AM   #4
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For example, "Chinatown".
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Old March 17th, 2004, 08:19 AM   #5
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"A Film By" is a vanity credit that a lot of people (especially screenwriters, search for that phrase at Wordplay and you'll be surprised at the strong feelings it invokes) wish would go away. The thinking among people who don't have the power to make the claim of "A Film By" is that too many people put too much effort into a film for one person to claim the film as by him.
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Old March 17th, 2004, 09:11 AM   #6
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I think it depends on the stature of the producer as well. Jerry Bruckheimer, for example, pastes his huge name over everything he produces. It's always referred to as a Bruckheimer film - and the director is always secondary to him.

Of course, if you look through his IMDB, you'll see that of his fifty-something films listed, 75% of them were ridiculously huge moneymakers. So he obviously wields his name like a gold brick.
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Old March 17th, 2004, 09:30 AM   #7
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A film by Joe Johnston and John Fusco

I saw this rather unique "a film by" credit recently, on Hidalgo.

Generous of Johnston, and a unique way of diffusing the controversy of taking such a credit on a film where the director is not also the writer.

Apparently British director Mike Hodges does the same thing with his films.

Screenwriter David Goyer, famous for his comic book adaptations, once visited a class I was taking. "What do you think of the 'a film by' credit?" someone asked.

"It's a bullshit credit," he said, the contempt shooting from his tongue.

"So you'd never take it?"

"I'd never take it."

"What about for films on which the writer and the director are the same person?" I asked.

"It's bullshit. Filmmaking is a collaborative process involving the talents of so many people. A director doesn't have the right to claim that credit when it should also go to every other person involved in the making of the movie."

Goyer makes his studio directing debut with Blade III this year--we shall see whether he was able to shun the temptation!
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Old March 17th, 2004, 09:43 AM   #8
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I always thought that "A Film by" actually carried the mark of an amateur. I mean, when you are making a film in filmschool, and wind up writing/directing/editing/catering/driving/lighting and possibly even acting in your three minute short, well then okay- go ahead and say "A Film by John Doe" and spare us two minutes of screen credits listing your name fifteen times.

Having said that, as a writer, in the professional world my feelings are ; If you have any of the following THREE solo credits.

Writer (sole)
Producer (sole)
Director (director)
Actor (lead)

Then go ahead and lead with "A John Doe Film" or "A Film by John Doe" So I would be okay with a Orson Welles or Kenneth Branaugh on a couple of their projects.
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Old March 17th, 2004, 09:49 AM   #9
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Then there's Robert Rodriguez who does literally everything. If he could actually engineer and assemble the cameras he uses he'd probably do that too. In Once Upon a Time in Mexico, it says:

"Written, shot and chopped by Robert Rodriquez"

A little campy, but hey, if you do a lot it's your prerogative.

There are some writer/directors who just have a style that is very uniquely their own. You couldn't call it anything but 'their' film, regardless of the fact that it is a collaborative process. People fill the seats for that specific person.

A Quentin Tarantino Film
A Spike Lee Joint

etc. etc.

By contrast, do most care who wrote or directed or produced Bruce Almighty, or Along Came Polly, or other such run of the mill films? Not to take anything away from whether or not they're good - it's just that they don't suggest a particular 'style' so to speak, or portray a unique vision of their creators. But does John Hamburg (writer/director of Along Came Polly) have the right to say "A John Hamburg Film"? Sure!

Basically I'm saying that if you're writer and director, then it should be safe to say it's your film. After all, a painter doesn't say the person who manufactured the paint holds sway over their painting.

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Old March 17th, 2004, 10:32 PM   #10
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Go to your friendly neighborhood movie poster store and just see how many times "A [Director's Name] film" appears. Mark of an amateur? Hardly.
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Old March 17th, 2004, 11:26 PM   #11
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What John said.

Although I've never really considered anything about "A Film By" before, now that it's been brought up, I'm noticing it often. Saw a poster for Van Helsing today with Sommers (I think) graced by the "A Film By". Now I know who to blame when it sucks.
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Old March 17th, 2004, 11:49 PM   #12
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A Post by RB!
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Old March 18th, 2004, 07:53 AM   #13
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Frequently it's a PR gimmick. A film by Alfred Hitchcock starring John Doe will attrack more viewers than "Killer Tomatoes" starring John Doe.
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Old March 18th, 2004, 10:57 AM   #14
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Right. When you're green, you beg the studio to give you the credit. When you're a commodity, they may beg you to take it.
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Old March 18th, 2004, 12:35 PM   #15
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John, you missed the tongue in cheek of my post. The point being that an amateur HAS to wear a dozen hats, and using "A film by" is a good way of saving credit space.

I still stand by my assessment, you've should wear three of the major hats to get "A film by" credit.
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