AmPav Notebook: Francis Ford Coppola

By mikejones | mikejones May 16, 2009 at 4:35AM

AmPav Notebook: Francis Ford Coppola
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by Jean-Pierre Busche
The 70-year-old directing legend Francis Ford Coppola spoke to a packed Roger Ebert Conference Center for a intimate conversation on his process. Some notes gleamed from the hour-long talk:

-- After an enthusiastic welcome by the audience, he joked that he is "currently living up past failures."

-- The director reminded moderator Scott Foundas that "Apocalypse Now" -- Coppola's follow-up to "The Godfather" -- did not receive good reviews initially. Nevertheless, it was appreciated over time and is much more appreciated today.

-- Coppola emphasized the importance of quality and innovation over budget, a notion well received by the audience: "The smaller the budget, the higher the ambition, the bigger the budget the more stupid the movie is. Films nowadays are just made for money"

-- A big inspiration in Coppola's life was his older brother who advised him on good literature when he was a child, including Jean-Paul Sartre and Huxley's Brave New World as examples.

-- In remembering some of his studio work, Coppola said that tried very hard to not feel like a prostitute. "I tried to find something to love in everything I did for them. Like "Peggy Sue Got Married." I read that and said 'Okay, it's sweet, like 'Our Town.'"

-- Coppola's advice for film students -- "If you're making movies out of passion, you need a dayjob." His best time to write? "I like working in the morning, when no one has hurt my feelings yet."

Check out indieWIRE's view from the crowd here.