Many years ago, when my second film, “Rushmore,” came out, I got a letter from Marty saying how much he liked it — and “Bottle Rocket” — and I was so thrilled. Not only was I a disciple, but I’d read “Scorsese on Scorsese” many times and listened to all his commentaries on “Raging Bull” and “Taxi Driver” on the Criterion Collection, so I felt that I’d been tutored by him without his knowledge.
Around the same time, he also contributed a profile of me to a magazine article about young filmmakers, and when I heard about it, I couldn’t believe it. Shortly after, I met him in person when he invited me to a screening of “Bringing Out the Dead,” and I was so pleased and excited to finally meet him, but understandably what he had on his mind was his work in progress, and it was fascinating to see him in his process.
Since then, we’ve kept in touch, even though he’s so busy, while I’ve been working abroad so much. I’ll get an invitation to see a movie he’s screening, and in fact one of them, Renoir’s “The River,” really inspired me to make “The Darjeeling Limited.” I’d never seen it before, and his Film Foundation had restored it, and that was the catalyst for me to spend the next few years pursuing my Indian project — it was a direct result of Marty’s invitation.
What’s amazing about Marty is that he makes all these huge films and is so busy with his Film Foundation and documentary and book projects, and yet he finds time to executive produce so many projects for other filmmakers, such as Alison Anders. He really stays engaged, and I think encouraging new filmmakers is part of his credo.
— as told to Iain Blair