Oklahoma City Community College (OCCC) recently hosted Academy AwardÂ®-winning director/writer Francis Ford Coppola who chose the school for a proof of concept workshop entitled Distant Vision, and to execute a groundbreaking, proprietary cinema concept called “Live Cinema”– a movie performance piece created in real time. Coppola spent the past three weeks putting the concept into practice for the first time ever, utilizing modern filmmaking techniques and the most advanced video technology provided by OCCC and Coppola to create a cohesive dramatic production filmed live. The final live performance of Distant Vision was performed last night on the OCCC soundstage.
Distant Vision, written, directed and produced by Coppola, is the story of three generations of the Corrado family whose history spans the development of television. The workshop was produced by Jenny Gersten and Coppola. OCCC co-sponsored the workshop with Coppola’s company, American Zoetrope, by providing the space, equipment and student resources. The acclaimed filmmaker chose OCCC because of his long standing friendship and professional relationship with the school’s Artist-In-Residence, Gray Frederickson, who has served as a producer on eight of Coppola’s films since 1969.
“Our experimental workshop here at Oklahoma City Community College has been a vital part of my own understanding of Live Cinema. The faculty and students here have been tremendously valuable and supportive, and working in Oklahoma is always fruitful and a pleasure. I look forward to conducting larger-scale workshops in the future and developing plans for a full production several years from now,” Coppola said.
To execute the “Live Cinema” workshop of Distant Vision, over 70 students enrolled in a special course and served as active crew members in all areas of production: Camera Operators, Grips, Sound, Costumes, Props, Video, Acting, Stage Management and Producing. Local artists served as Department Heads, and the professional actors who performed the principal roles were all local.
“It has been a pleasure and an honor to have Mr. Coppola on our campus and to see our students so engaged and inspired to create within his vision. Oklahoma City Community College and the community are excited to be a part of this innovative moment in cinema,” said Division of Arts Dean Ruth Charnay.
Coppola has a history of filmmaking in Oklahoma. Two of his films, The Outsiders and Rumble Fish, were shot in Tulsa in 1982 and 1983.
Coppola is best known as the five-time Academy Award-winning director of such epic films as the Godfather trilogy and Apocalypse Now. Born in Detroit in 1939, Coppola grew up in Queens, New York. Bedridden with polio as a child, he developed an interest in film after being given a toy movie projector. A prolific theater and film student at Hofstra College and UCLA, he first made his mark as the Oscar-winning screenwriter behind Patton, and followed it up with the Godfather films, Apocalypse Now and The Conversation. These films have consistently been listed among the greatest films ever made.
As the maverick founder of his company American Zoetrope, he personally initiated and nourished the careers of talents such as George Lucas, Carroll Ballard, John Milius, his daughter, Sofia Coppola and actors including Al Pacino, Robert DeNiro, James Caan, Harrison Ford, Richard Dreyfus, Diane Keaton, Robert Duvall, Laurence Fishburne, Matt Dillon and Diane Lane. Zoetrope-produced films have received 16 Academy AwardsÂ® and seventy nominations.
As a writer, director, producer and technological pioneer, Coppola has created a body of work that has helped to shape contemporary American cinema.