The actor, director and writer sees industry potential in Sarasota.
Actor, director and writer Ethan Hawke sees potential for the future of filmmaking, especially in Sarasota.
Hawke, who was in town yesterday visiting Ringling College of Art and Design as a part of the college’s partnership with Semkhor Productions, recently collaborated with four interns from Ringling’s film program on his upcoming independent movie, “Blaze.”
The film details the life of country-western musician Blaze Foley, a relatively obscure, but highly influential figure in the Texas outlaw music scene. It’s a passion project for Hawke, who says he rejects the idea that biopics can only study lives of the famous and already celebrated.
After touring the campus, Hawke took a moment before a Q&A forum to talk about the potential he sees for the future of the industry in a changing landscape, the role Sarasota might play and potential future collaborations with Ringling students.
“I’ve had this dream for a long time,” he says. “And I see that dream here at this school. I see a real opportunity for independent cinema to be aided by film schools, and for film schools to be aided by independent cinema. The same way math and science work in coordination with Harvard Institute, wouldn’t it be amazing to do the same with film? There’s a strong relationship between art and apprenticeship.”
Hawke also says projects like the Ringling Soundstage offer students professional experience, which helps break down the illusion that success in the industry is out of reach. And as advances in technology continue to shape the film industry, he says artistry will always remain the most important factor.
“I’ve worked with Antoine Fuqua on three films,” he says. "When we wrapped ‘The Magnificent Seven', he joked that the next time we worked together, it would probably be on a video game. I don’t know if that’s true, but whatever it is, art loves truth and expression of reality. Whatever way it manifests — one of the great things about being an actor and studying Shakespeare is seeing that people don’t really change. The essential elements of what it means to be alive are all the same, and however they get expressed, they’ll get expressed.”