With the opening of Zack Snyder’s “Man of Steel” looming, the director returned to his roots this weekend with a pep talk to students at the Art Center College of Design in Pasadena.

The occasion was the college’s Dot Independent Film Festival honoring student films. Snyder is a 1989 graduate.

“Thanks for getting up at 10 in the morning on a Saturday,” Snyder said at the top of his presentation in the Ahmanson Auditorium. “I showed my Super 8 projects in this room. We would say, ‘One day our movies will play in a real theater.'”

Snyder recalled that he had been drawn to the school when his father sent him a box of 20 film school catalogs. The deciding factor was a photo of a student shooting from a crane. “I went, ‘Look at all that cool gear,'” he recalled.

Snyder called the experience “art boot camp” and noted that there was a attrition rate — “It was like Vietnam” — but noted that his tenure led to massive amounts of shooting and lasting friendships with Tarsem, Kendall Henry and Larry Fong, his cinematographer on “300” and “Watchmen.”

Snyder credited Art Center with the best advice he received: “Your point of view is all you have in the end. So if you did it your way and it was cool, that was all that was required.”

And Snyder told the students that the industry wants them.

“They want you to tell them what’s right,” he concluded. “They know that they don’t know. Hollywood needs you. I do it the same way as I did when I was in Basics 2 with Kendall and Larry.”