Academics & Faculty

‘The Power of Film’ by UCLA Professor Howard Suber Receives High Praise from Hollywood Insiders


Geoffrey Gilmore, director of the Sundance Film Festival,describes Howard Suber as "one of the foremost teachers of film in the world" anddirector Francis Ford Coppoladescribes Suber's new book, "The Powerof Film," as "a remarkable work" and "surprisingly contrary to 'whateveryone knows' " about filmmaking.

Howard Suber has taught for more than 40 years at UCLA'sSchool of Theater, Film and Television and has inspired and educated severalgenerations of American and foreign filmmakers and writers.

In "The Power of Film,"which will be published in September 2006 by Michael Wiese Productions,Suber examines the patterns and principles that make films popular andmemorable. It is a definitive analysis of film storytelling, written both forthose who want to create films and for those who just want to understand thembetter.

"The Power of Film"is being celebrated by Hollywood insiders onboth the business and creative sides of filmmaking.

Director/screenwriter Alexander Payne ("Sideways," "AboutSchmidt"), a former student of Suber's, calls "The Power of Film" a fascinatingand thought-provoking work.

"For yearsstudents in Howard Suber's legendary classes at UCLA begged him to write abook," Payne said. "Now that he has delivered it, filmmakers, scholars andanyone else with a serious interest in film can rejoice."

Sundance's Gilmore said, "This book does not try tocategorize audiences or to provide simplistic 'rules' for screenwriting andfilmmaking. In fact, true to his always skepticalspirit, Suber debunks a good portion of the so-called rules."

In one passage that challenges the "rule" that Hollywoodfilms should have happy endings, Suber lists more than 40 memorable and popularfilms, such as "On the Waterfront," "Schindler's List," "The Godfather" and"The Silence of the Lambs," that do not conform to that belief.

Happy endings, he writes, are ones are happy for theaudience but not necessarily for the characters.

"The hero may have lost the world," Suber explains, "but hehas gained his soul. In so doing, he has transcended what the world calls'victory'."

Robin Russin, co-author of "Screenplay: Writing the Picture," said, "If UCLA is the Camelot ofscreenwriting schools — which I believe it is — Professor Howard Suber is itsMerlin. For more than four decades, students have entered his classroom to seethe secrets of screen magic revealed — not only how movies work, but why theyaffect us so deeply, and how we can apply those secrets to our own concoctions.

"Hereit is at last, a witty A-to-Z of the raw ingredients out of which the magic offilm is spun. From now on this book will sit on the screenwriter's desk, nextto the dictionary and the thesaurus."

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