Turner Classic Movies and the American Film Institute are collaborating on a series of quarterly specials exploring some of the greatest artistic pairings in film today.
TCM Presents: AFI's Master Class - The Art of Collaboration will launch Nov. 15, with a one-hour special focusing on the 40-year relationships between filmmaker Steven Spielberg and composer John Williams. Upcoming specials in the series will be announced later.
With Master classes a core part of the curriculum at the AFI Conservatory, the show will filmed in front of an audience AFI Fellows as the two artists discuss films that inspire them and present clips from these classic movies. They will also present and discuss their own collaborative work to illustrate different aspects of filmmaking. Each program concludes with a Q&A session with AFI Fellows.
The vintage movie network will follow the Collaboration premiere with a presentation of Saving Private Ryan, a film in which both artists went against traditional war-movie forms: Spielberg with his chaotic, non-glorifying vision of war and Williams with a score that relies on hymn-like reverence and seething, underlying tension. The evening will also include a presentation of Stanley Kubrick's Spartacus (1960), with a score by Alex North. Williams and Spielberg both cite Kubrick and North's work on Spartacus as influencing their collaborative point of view.
The Spielberg-Williams collaboration began in 1974, when Spielberg asked the composer to score The Sugarland Express (1974), the director's first theatrical.
Over the years, the collaboration has extended to Jaws (1975), which earned Williams the first of three Oscars he would take home for scoring Spielberg's films. The pair also worked together on Close Encounters of the Third Kind (1977); Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981); E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial (1982); Empire of the Sun (1987); Hook (1991); Jurassic Park and Schindler's List (1993); Saving Private Ryan (1998); Catch Me if You Can and Minority Report (2002); and War of the Worlds and Munich (2005).
Williams and Spielberg also worked together on two documentary shorts and two episodes of the television series Amazing Stories, for which Williams also wrote the theme. Today, the Spielberg-Williams collaboration continues with The Adventures of Tintin and their 25th feature film collaboration, War Horse, both set for release this Christmas. Spielberg's Lincoln, marking their 26th feature together, is slated for release next year.
"It is understood that film is a collaborative art, but the enormously successful artists featured in these specials have taken collaboration to its highest level," said Michael Wright, executive vice president, head of programming for TCM, TNT and TBS, in announcing the project. "We are enormously proud to be working with the American Film Institute on this vital project, which will capture the vision and processes of artists whose collaborations have literally changed how movies are made."
"One of the founding principles of the AFI Conservatory is that our Fellows learn from the masters," said Bob Gazzale, president and CEO of the American Film Institute. "Thanks to Turner Classic Movies, we are proud to share their words and wisdom with the world and most honored to inaugurate the series with Steven Spielberg and John Williams, two of the greatest collaborators in the history of the art form."