Oliver Stone Closes Winter Park Institute Season

Oliver Stone addressed the Rollins community and answered questions from students about his life and career.

(Photo by Scott Cook) (Photo by Scott Cook)

On Thursday, April 18, Academy Award-winning director and filmmaker Oliver Stone led a public conversation as part of the final event of the Winter Park Institute’s spring 2013 season. Stone’s presentation began with a 15-minute reflection on his life, career, and body of work, explaining how his life experiences have led him to produce his new book and Showtime miniseries The Untold History of the United States. The rest of the event consisted of questions to Stone from students moderated by Professor of Theater Arts and self-described movie-fanatic Thomas Ouellette and Critical Media and Cultural Studies major Kevin Crosby ’13.

(Photo by Scott Cook)
(Photo by Scott Cook)

“The Untold History of the United States is the true culmination of what I have become, although I didn’t see it at the time. Each film was a step toward this moment.”

“I was a conformist in the 1950s. We were scared. I went to Vietnam on the pretense I was doing good for my country.”

(Photo by Scott Cook) (Photo by Scott Cook)

Five students pursuing a major in critical media and cultural studies and a minor in film asked Stone questions during the event, including whether American political writers and pundits are influenced by movies, what Stone’s motivations were to write and direct his films, and if streaming digital movies threatens the relevance of movie theaters.

“Movies aren’t dying. Seeing a movie in a theater is a sacred, communal experience that you cannot get on a tablet or computer at home. The beauty is in the challenge for filmmakers. You only have one chance to make the story work for the theater audience.”

(Photo by Scott Cook) (Photo by Scott Cook)

Toward the end of the question and answer portion of the event, Stone offered his advice to aspiring filmmakers.

“Crash the gate in Hollywood and don’t give up. Fight to get noticed. Don’t sell out. Find a way. The path to success is always crooked—never a straight line.”