Sep 23, 2009

Werner Herzog's Rogue Film School

Werner Herzog, the Bavarian-born, Academy-award nominated a cult film maker will host a seminar this year called The Rogue Film School. Applications are due in November for the three-day conference hosted at a Los Angeles hotel, in January 2010. The seminar costs $1450 and promises no technical training, but rather a lively discourse on guerrilla tactics, low-budget production, and "the athletic side of film-making." In other words, "The Rogue Film School is about a way of life. It is about a climate, the excitement that makes film possible. It will be about poetry, films, music, images, literature."

Herzog, who didn't use a telephone until the age of 17, has directed over 40 films, published many books, and directed numerous operas. He is known for his epic tales that capture human conflict with nature, heroes with impossible dreams, and extreme journeys. He films on location and often uses local people as actors.

One of his better known films, "Agrirre, Wrath of God" is the tale of Spanish conquistadors in search of El Dorado, the legendary city of gold. was shot with a camera stolen from the Munich Film School, in the Amazon, for less than $370,000. The cast and crew climbed up mountains, hacked through thick jungle, and rode ferocious Amazonian river rapids on rafts built by natives. During the film session, a flood submerged much of the film equipment as well as the rafts; this disaster and the rebuilding effort were then incorporated into the film.

"Grizzly Man" is another Herzog film of note which tells the story of bear-enthusiast Timothy Treadwell who spent 13 summers in Katmai National Park and Preserve, Alaska. Treadwell shot hundreds of hours of film amidst these bears, and the camera was still rolling when in 2003, he and his girlfriend were killed and eaten. Herzog used Treadwell's collection of footage to tell this story. The film has received much criticism but is a testament to the adventurous subject matter and skillful means that Herzog employs.

Interested in attending the Rogue Film School? You can learn more a
Applications are due November 13. But be warned, as Herzog states,
"The Rogue Film School is not for the faint-hearted; it is for those who have travelled on foot, who have worked as bouncers in sex clubs or as wardens in a lunatic asylum, for those who are willing to learn about lockpicking and forging shooting permits in countries not favoring their projects. In short: for those who have a sense of poetry. For those who are pilgrims. For those who can tell a story to four year old children and hold their attention. For those who have a fire burning within. For those who have a dream."

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