Richard Stuart Linklater (born July 30, 1960) is an American film director and screenwriter. Link to his films:
Linklater was born in Houston, Texas. He studied at Sam Houston State University and left midway through his stint in college to work on an off-shore oil rig in the Gulf of Mexico. While working on the rig he read a lot of literature, but on land he developed a love of film through repeated visits to a repertory theater in Houston. It was at this point that Linklater realized he wanted to be a filmmaker. After his job on the oil rig, Linklater used the money he had saved to buy a Super-8 camera, a projector, and some editing equipment, and moved to Austin. It was there that the aspiring cineaste founded the Austin Film Society and grew to appreciate such auteurs as Robert Bresson, Yasujiro Ozu, Rainer Werner Fassbinder, Josef Von Sternberg, and Carl Theodor Dreyer. He enrolled in Austin Community College in the fall of 1984 to study film.
Since his early 20s, Linklater has been a vegetarian.
Linklater founded the Austin Film Society in 1985 together with his frequent collaborator Lee Daniel, and is lauded for launching and solidifying the city of Austin as a hub for independent filmmaking.
Inspiration for Linklater’s work was largely based on his experience with the film Raging Bull, Linklater told Robert K. Elder in an interview for The Film That Changed My Life.
It made me see movies as a potential outlet for what I was thinking about and hoping to express. At that point I was an unformed artist. At that moment, something was simmering in me, but Raging Bull brought it to a boil.
For several years, Linklater made many short films that were, more than anything, exercises and experiments in film techniques. He finally completed his first feature, the rarely seen It’s Impossible to Learn to Plow by Reading Books (which is now available in the Criterion Collection edition of Slacker), a Super-8 feature that took a year to shoot and another year to edit. The film is significant in the sense that it establishes most of Linklater’s preoccupations. The film has his trademark style of minimal camera movements and lack of narrative, while it examines the theme of traveling with no real particular direction in mind. These idiosyncrasies would be explored in greater detail in future projects.
To this end Linklater created Detour Filmproduction (an homage to the 1945 low budget film noir by Edgar G. Ulmer), and subsequently made Slacker for only $23,000. The film is an aimless day in the life of the city of Austin, Texas showcasing its more eccentric characters.
In 1995, Linklater won the Silver Bear for Best Director for the film Before Sunrise at the 45th Berlin International Film Festival.
While gaining a cult following for his independent films, such as Dazed and Confused, Waking Life, and A Scanner Darkly, his mainstream comedies, School of Rock and the remake of Bad News Bears, have gained him wider recognition. In 2003, he wrote and directed a pilot for HBO with Rodney Rothman called $5.15/hr, about several minimum wage restaurant workers. The pilot deals with themes later examined in Fast Food Nation. In 2004, the British television network Channel 4 produced a major documentary about Linklater, in which the filmmaker frankly discussed the personal and philosophical ideas behind his films. “St Richard of Austin” was presented by Ben Lewis and directed by Irshad Ashraf and broadcast on Channel 4 in December 2004 in the UK. In 2005, Linklater was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Adapted Screenplay for his film Before Sunset.
Many of Linklater’s films take place in one day, a narrative approach that has gained popularity in recent years. Slacker, Dazed and Confused, Tape, Before Sunrise, and Before Sunset are examples of this method. Two of his recent films, (A Scanner Darkly and Waking Life), used rotoscoping animation techniques. Working with Bob Sabiston and Sabiston’s program Rotoshop to create this effect, Linklater shot and edited both movies completely as live action features, then employed a team of artists to ‘trace over’ individual frames. The result is a distinctive ‘semi-real’ quality, praised by such critics as Roger Ebert (in the case of Waking Life) as being original and well-suited to the aims of the film.
Fast Food Nation (2006) is an adaptation of the best selling book that examines the local and global influence of the United States fast food industry. The film was entered into the 2006 Cannes Film Festival before being released in North America on 17 November 2006 and in Europe on 23 March 2007.
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