Friday, May 21, 2010

Connecting with Borzage

A chance connection with a young filmmaker fresh out of film school led me to post about her and her fellow cinephiles this week. Finding a documentary she and her crew made, called Frank Borzage, Director (2009) encouraged me, since it indicated a serious interest in the works of this somewhat forgotten film pioneer and film preservation in general. The post begins below:

Color me green with envy after reading all those positive reports from all over about the recent TCM Classic Film Festival. While giving friends who attended the third degree to extract every droplet of vicarious enjoyment from their accounts of that long, delirious weekend in LA, one of the things that stands out in their reporting is the mention of the large number of young people in the audience, as well as the "lifers," (aka those of us who have been movie-mad since childhood).  Recently, I was delighted to make the acquaintance of a youthful filmmaker who could be representative of this fresh wave of classic film lovers on the horizon.

From the viewpoint of most of us, Rebecca Bozzo, a twenty-something graduate of the University of California at Santa Barbara, is already a working film professional, but her ebullient enthusiasm for what she describes as  the  "collaborative energy" of movie making has an infectious quality that blends real knowledge and a joyous passion, even as she describes the sometimes arduous but invigorating process of collaboration with diverse people. Growing up in a household where her supportive parents exposed her to great films from Hitchcock, Cukor, Stevens, and Minnelli, her father was particularly involved in the National Film Society efforts to preserve films. With this cinematically aware family background, a growing desire to be a part of the film industry as a director and producer almost seems inevitable.

For the last five years, while still an undergraduate in Film and Media Studies,  Ms. Bozzo, usually called Becca by her friends, has been a production assistant to writer-director Cass Warner, whose book about her family history was translated into a compelling documentary that recently appeared on TCM. The Brothers Warner (2008) told the remarkable story of the four founders of Warner Brothers studio, one of whom, the visionary Harry Warner, was Ms.Warner's grandfather.  During this same period, Becca has also been involved in making an environmental film that has been aired on California television to support the UCIRA, the Santa Barbara Coastal Fund and NASA. As she acquired experience learning the nuts and bolts of the technical and aesthetic sides of films from the ground up, and began to appreciate the rich world of classic film more deeply throughout her education, Becca developed a particular affinity for the shimmering, if somewhat neglected legacy of Frank Borzage, an outstanding peer of the legendary D. W. Griffith, John Ford and King Vidor...more on the Movie Morlocks at TCM


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