Denis Villeneuve is the most recent high profile director to surprise students at the United Kingdom’s National Film and Television School with a video masterclass on directing. The “Sicario” and “Blade Runner 2049” filmmaker video chatted with quarantined film students on Monday, April 27 through Zoom while taking a break from post-production on his upcoming “Dune” adaptation. John Wardle, the school’s director, shared the news on social media, writing, “I love this man. Denis Villeneuve just spent the last hour talking with real poetry about his work (‘Prisoners,’ ‘Sicario,’ ‘Arrival,’ ‘Blade Runner 2049’) and giving students a massive lift in the process. Thank you Denis!”
David Fincher kicked off the National Film and Television School’s quarantined masterclasses at the end of March, surprising nearly 450 students who registered online to take part in the video chat discussion. Over the last several weeks, Wardle has brought on an impressive roster of top talent to give online discussions to quarantined film students, including Edgar Wright, Sam Mendes, “Succession” creator Jesse Armstrong, “Knives Out” composer Nathan Johnson, Ricky Gervais, and Judd Apatow. The United Kingdom remains in lockdown through early May and quarantine measures are set to be reviewed again by May 7.
Villeneuve earned an Oscar nomination for Best Director with “Arrival” and his last theatrical release, “Blade Runner 2049” won Oscars for Best Cinematography and Best Visual Effects. The director is currently mounting a two-part adaptation of Frank Herbert’s novel “Dune,” with the first installment scheduled for release by Warner Bros. on December 18. The tentpole remains on the release calendar for now.
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“’Dune’ was made by people from all over the world,” Villeneuve recently said to Vanity Fair. “Many of these people are like family to me, and they’re very much in my thoughts. I’m so proud to showcase their hard work. I look forward to a time when we can all get together again as ‘Dune’ was made to be seen on the big screen.”
Many filmmakers have been participating in online discussions while in quarantine, from “The Lighthouse” director Robert Eggers teasing his new film while chatting with Film Independent members to Sofia Coppola participating in an hour-long discussion with 92Y listeners. IndieWire has also held discussions with the likes of Barry Jenkins.
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