Howard A. Rodman

WGAW President and former FACF Board Member


I was a board member of the FACF for about seven years, in part because French cinema speaks to me and has been a huge influence in my life and on my work. The first French film I saw was La Guerre est finie by Alain Resnais, starring Yves Montand and written by Jorge Semprun who was in exile from fascist Spain. The narrative wasn’t entirely linear and it made me think, looking back on it, about the way the language of cinema is richer and far more varied than what I had been exposed to on my diet of Hollywood movies. At that time I had started to read avant-garde literature and this movie hit me in the wonderful way that these books were hitting me. And the people in it were, oddly, more like the people I knew in real life, than the characters who populated the films of my own country. I walked out of the theater seeing the world slightly differently than when I walked in. You’re filled with a sense of possibility for what you may be able to do: that the exploration of narratives that I was interested in fiction was something that was possible in movies, too. It made me want to make movies. I felt like let’s get to work! The Fund is really one-of-a-kind in that it doesn’t focus on money. It exists to promote and foster exchange between the French and American film, and now TV community. What is great is that there is a continuing conversation between the French filmmaking community and the American one. Sometimes it’s person to person, and sometimes it’s film to film, and it gets richer all the time. The film culture of France would be impossible to imagine without that of the U.S. and vice versa. The roots are very tangled and at a certain point you can’t even tell what leaves are from which tree.

Howard A. Rodman

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