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How to interview 30 top directors about the film that changed their life, from Kevin Smith to Danny Boyle (Interview)

Kevin SmithKevin Smith, image via WikipediBy BOB ANDELMAN (email)
Mr. Media Radio  

My 14-year-old daughter is thinking a lot about college these days and just last night asked me, “Why did you get a degree in film studies?”

Good question, but I had to weigh telling her the truth with giving an answer that wouldn’t distract her. I mean, what would be the sense in saying, “Because it was the easiest major I could think of,” or “Because that’s where all the prettiest girls were,” or “Because those were the easiest classes in which to catch up on my sleep after working till midnight at the Royal Park 4 Theaters”?


I’ve always loved getting lost in a movie. I’ll start watching a film on TV – pretty much any film – from any point and get absorbed. When I was a teen, my pal Bruce Kessler and I used to ride several miles on our bikes to catch whatever was playing in East Brunswick or Princeton.

I remember many life-changing moments. Believing a man – Christopher Reeves, anyway – could fly in the first Superman. Discovering that there is nothing more beautiful than a naked woman’s breasts in a bathtub, thanks to Serpico. The start of months of nightmares following a screening of Freddy Francis’ 1972 Tales From the Crypt. (Note: During the interview, I mistakenly reference this as a Gerge Romero film. My bad.) Cursing like a Brooklyn-born sailor after meeting Tony Manero in Saturday Night Fever.

That made picking up Robert K. Elder’s new interview collection, The Film That Changed My Life: 30 Directors on Their Epiphanies in the Dark, a sure thing in my life. Elder, who was on Mr. Media last year to talk about his book, Last Words of the Executed, has once again found an irresistible topic of discussion. And listen to just a few of the internationally celebrated film directors who shared their cinematic inspiration with him:

Slumdog Millionaire’s Danny Boyle. Clerks’ Kevin Smith. Bend It Like Beckham’s Gurinda Chatha. Slacker’s Richard Linklater. Mission Impossible: II’s John Woo. Pink Flamingos’ John Waters.

Hear it now!ROBERT K. ELDER audio excerpt: “Kevin Smith falls into the category of: ‘That’s a movie? I can do that… This is funny, but I’m funny, too. I can do this.'” 

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You can LISTEN to this interview with ROBERT K. ELDER, author of THE FILM THAT CHANGED MY LIFE: 30 DIRECTORS ON THEIR EPIPHANIES IN THE DARK, by clicking the audio player above!

Bob Andelman is the author or co-author of 10 books, including ‘The Profiler’ with Pat Brown, ‘Built From Scratch’ with the founders of The Home Depot, and ‘Will Eisner: A Spirited Life.’ • Follow Bob on Twitter or Facebook.

  [Get Copyright Permissions]Copyright 2010 Bob Andelman. Click here for copyright permissions!

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