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With the release of Avatar in December 2009, James Cameron cements his reputation as king of sci-fi and blockbuster filmmaking. It’s a distinction he’s long been building, through a directing career that includes such cinematic landmarks as The Terminator, Aliens, The Abyss, and the highest grossing movie of all time, Titanic. The Futurist is the first in-depth look at every aspect of this audacious creative genius—culminating in an exclusive behind-the-scenes glimpse of the making of Avatar, the movie that promises to utterly transform the way motion pictures are created and perceived. As decisive a break with the past as the transition from silents to talkies, Avatar pushes 3-D, live action, and photo-realistic CGI to a new level. It rips through the emotional barrier of the screen to transport the audience to a fabulous new virtual world.
With cooperation from the often reclusive Cameron, author Rebecca Keegan has crafted a singularly revealing portrait of the director’s life and work. We meet the young truck driver who sees Star Wars and sets out to learn how to make even better movies himself—starting by taking apart the first 35mm camera he rented to see how it works. We observe the neophyte director deciding over lunch with Arnold Schwarzenegger that the ex-body builder turned actor is wrong in every way for the Terminator role as written, but perfect regardless. After the success of The Terminator, Cameron refines his special-effects wizardry with a big-time Hollywood budget in the creation of the relentlessly exciting Aliens. He builds an immense underwater set for The Abyss in the massive containment vessel of an abandoned nuclear power plant—where he pushes his scuba-breathing cast to and sometimes past their physical and emotional breaking points (including a white rat that Cameron saved from drowning by performing CPR). And on the set of Titanic, the director struggles to stay in charge when someone maliciously spikes craft services’ mussel chowder with a massive dose of PCP, rendering most of the cast and crew temporarily psychotic.
Now, after his movies have earned over $5 billion at the box office, James Cameron is astounding the world with the most expensive, innovative, and ambitious movie of his career. For decades the moviemaker has been ready to tell the Avatar story but was forced to hold off his ambitions until technology caught up with his vision. Going beyond the technical ingenuity and narrative power that Cameron has long demonstrated, Avatar shatters old cinematic paradigms and ushers in a new era of storytelling.
The Futurist is the story of the man who finally brought movies into the twenty-first century.
This debut memoir, an intimate story of second chances, love and redemption, spans three continents and four countries, as a daughter rekindles her relationship with her filmmaker mother during the production of Water, Deepa Mehta’s most controversial movie.
Introducing a new literary voice, Shooting Water recounts Devyani Saltzman’s remarkable story of reconnecting with her mother, international award-winning filmmaker Deepa Mehta. When Devyani was eleven, her parents divorced, and the courts required her to choose which parent to live with. She chose to live with her father in Toronto and then spent the next eight years navigating between two religions (Hinduism and Judaism), two cultures (Indian and Canadian), two traditions and two people—belonging to both and to neither at once.
In late 1999, at the age of nineteen, Devyani was invited by her mother to join her in the holy city of Benares, India, to work on Water, the final installment in Mehta’s acclaimed Elements trilogy (which started with Fire and Earth). After only a week of shooting, Water became the target of a series of politically motivated attacks. The movie was shut down. Devyani went off to Oxford and, then, three years later rejoined her mother when production resumed in Sri Lanka. What began as a journey to heal deep wounds from the past turned into a five-year odyssey to complete the film.
Transformative and inspiring, Shooting Water chronicles Saltzman’s life-changing experience in India, the struggle to produce a film, and, through that struggle, the emergence of a deeper love between mother and daughter. 16 b/w photographs.