Writers panel: Robert Jury (‘Working Man’), Edoardo Ponti (‘The Life Ahead’)
Edoardo Ponti (“The Life Ahead”) and Robert Jury (“Working Man”) joined us for our “Meet the Experts” film writers panel to discuss their work. But since they’re also the directors of their films, which part of the creative process compels them most? Watch them discuss that and more in our group conversation above. Click on each of their names above to view our individual chats with these two men.
For Ponti, the writing process never really stops. He adapted “The Life Ahead” from a 1975 novel about the unlikely bond between a Holocaust survivor (Sophia Loren) and a Muslim orphan (Ibrahima Gueye) she fosters. But even after you’ve gotten the words down, “each phase is in essence a writing phase,” he explains. “When you start shooting the movie you’re essentially rewriting it with images. Then you’re cutting it, and you’re rewriting it through the juxtaposition of the images. And then when you start with the mix and the color timing you’re rewriting it again with sound.” So for that reason he feels that writing and directing “go truly hand-in-hand.”
However, Jury does feel he’s “a writer first,” especially on a low-budget film like “Working Man,” where he only had 20 days to shoot the story of a blue-collar worker (Peter Gerety) coping in the aftermath of his factory shutting down. With no time or budget for re-shoots, he was especially committed to what was on the page. But writing is also the part of the process he personally enjoys the most: “I think of the screenplay and that time that I have to spend on a story as kind of my most sacred.” And when it’s just you and the story, before the logistics of directing come into play, “you’re kind of the king of the castle completely.”
But no matter what phase of the filmmaking process you’re in, the end goal remains the same: it’s always about telling a story.