Sally Potter on the Auteur Theory

Continuing the focus on auteurism, here is Sally Potter’s position:

when you are working you tend not to think of yourself in any category… whether auteur or not. But, I believe that fundamentally, cinema has to be thought of as a collaborative medium because you really can’t do it alone, with the exception of 8mm or video pieces; or perhaps a 16mm film like Thriller which was shot with one of my hands on the sound button and the other one on the camera, and then I edited it. Under those circumstances perhaps auteur is the right word to use. But hang on, there were four performers in Thriller, so what was their status? Of course, they gave their input too, and their input became part of the image. And what about the people who printed the film at the lab? In other words, film can never be a solo medium in the way that the novel is. But then, what about the editor of the novel? What about the publishers of the book? What about the teachers of the writer who wrote the book? So, ultimately, we do not work alone without help and influence from others. Having said that, a film is not a committee medium. It has to be steered by one person. And this is the paradox. It is a collaborative medium, but with a director. Of course some films have been made collectively. I had some degree of experience with that on The Gold Diggers, although I was still directing the shoot. (1.)

1. Kirsty Widdicombe , The Contemporay Auteur, BFI,, Accessed 28th April 2009.