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Todd Solondz talks film school...and Charlie's Angels

Solondz talked about his career as he was being honoured at the American Film Festival in Wroclaw, Poland.

Todd Solondz said didn’t have much advice for any aspiring young filmmakers in the packed audience at a masterclass in Poland this weekend.

Solondz was in Wroclaw as the subject of a retrospective; his latest film Dark Horse opened the second American Film Festival. He was also given the fest’s Indie Star Award.

“There are no rules to this, I can’t give you any advice. I am not a role model,” he told the audience.

“All of my movies, they make less and less money. I’m down at the very bottom. It’s a very consistent trajectory, my career. Happiness made half the money of Welcome To The Dollhouse and then Storytelling made half the money of Happiness… [For Dark Horse], I thought, ‘What can I make for very little money,’ and I thought of boy meets girl. And it expanded from there.”

“I never know how an audience will receive any film. I’m always grateful I have any audiebce. I always assume every movie is going to be my lastmovie. I’m never sure who will want to lose money on me again.”

He talked about once being called to talk to Drew Barrymore about making Charlie’s Angels. “My idea would make $300,000 — they made $300 million,” he said. “My idea would not be popular but it would be fun to play with Charlie’s Angels.”

Solondz also spoke about film school, both as a former attendee and as a current teacher at NYU. “Film school is a wonderful place for teachers, you need to find a way to earn a living and it provides you with security and benefits. For the students its questionable — For some people it can be very good. I love teaching, I have a good time. I look at the young students with so much ambition and my heart goes out to them. I’m so glad I’m not young anymore.”

Of his own time as an NYU student, he said: “I started making films and I said ‘Maybe I can do this.’ It was very gratifying. It gave me confidence. 90 percent of what I learned was from making my own films, and seeing what my classmates were doing. It wasn’t from any class.”

Solondz was asked if it was easier getting his films financed as his career progresses. “Nothing gets easier. You are never ‘set.’ It’s always a nightmare…Investing in a movie now is a moneypit. When I talk to a financier I say its possible you could make your money back. Lots of things are possible.”

The entertaining talk wasn’t as much of a downer as these quotes read, and he did encourage would-be artists to just start writing or start making films.

In a positive mood, he added: “It’s good to have hope. To make a movie is a hopeful gesture. It’s a leap of faith.”

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