Writers will be well-served at this year’s Big Screen Symposium with Mexican screenwriter, author, director and producer, Guillermo Arriaga (Babel) becoming the second award-winning writer announced. He joins Australia’s Andrew Bovell in the line-up.
Arriaga is best known internationally for his scripts for 21 Grams and Babel, the latter earning him an Oscar nomination and a BAFTA award. He also wrote Amores Perros and The Three Burials of Melquiades Estrada, for which he Best Screenplay Awards at Cannes.
Arriaga calls himself “a hunter who works as a writer”.
He claims, “I have learned that the first rule of screenwriting, or any art, is having no rules. Everyone has to find their own way of doing things.”
Producer Walter Parkes (The Burning Plain, Minority Report, Gladiator) said, “Guillermo has quite literally changed the way motion pictures are made.”
Arriaga also has limited respect for convention. Of Hollywood’s much-loved three-act structure, he says:
I think that every story has a different way to be told; each one of them. And we have to realise that in real life, in our daily life, we use extremely sophisticated storytelling. We never go linear, we never structure with a first act, second act and third act. We always use this back and forth kind of storytelling. So why do we have to go always with this kind of structure?
Of the middle-class nature of filmmakers:
(They) have their world so organised that nothing really happens. They wake up, they have a cup of coffee, they go to study at college, they go back, they have another cup of coffee, and they sleep. Sometimes they have sex. With themselves.
Arriaga will deliver a keynote address and a 90 minute session for writers at the BSS.
BSS runs 10 – 11 August at the University of Auckland.