Roland Joffé (born 17 November 1945) is an English-French film director who is known for his Oscar nominated movies, The Killing Fields and The Mission. He began his career in television. His early television credits included episodes of Coronation Street and an adaptation of The Stars Look Down for Granada. He gained a reputation for hard-hitting political stories with the series Bill Brand and factual dramas for Play for Today.
His latest release, There Be Dragons, is about individual choice and reconciliation and the complexities of love. There Be Dragons is a project that Joffé says has a message he’s proud to say on film. In an interview with CBN.com, he stated, “I have a very deep emotional investment in this film. I feel that I really want to stand behind what it says to us as human beings.”
Joffé is currently in post-production of the Anglo-Indian historical epic romance time travel adventure film, Singularity. The film will be showcased at the 65th annual Cannes International Film Festival in May 2012.
Describe yourself in 3 words: Ignorant but curious.
What is your life motto? E=MC2 where E is Energy, M is Motivation and C is Courage.
When did you start pursuing your career and how long did it take to become successful? Pursuing a career may be a dead end – pursue the truth. Do that and you’ll be chasing something that, happily, always stays just out of reach.
Describe how difﬁcult the business really is? Some people say making a ﬁlm is as hard as rolling a boulder up a hill. I have learnt that it is as hard as trying to roll a hill up a boulder.
What is the mistake that taught you an extremely valuable lesson? I was frightened of making mistakes, then I realised that was the mistake.
What is the best piece of advice you have been given to date? A considered “No” is better than a fawning “Yes.” And as your level of success increases, so the does the wisdom of this advice.
In your mind, is formal training essential? If it trains your ability to ask a good question and recognise a good answer, it’s essential. if it teaches merely the dull application of formulae, it’s as useful as a cofﬁn.
Do you think having a mentor is important? How would you go about getting one for this industry? Maybe having a “Tormentor” is better. Someone who isn’t easy, does not suffer fools gladly, and whose work you ﬁnd inspiring, but whose aim is to make your questioning of reality become the source of your own inspiration. Offer yourself as a slave to such a person, but never forget you retain the right to end your bondage.
What are some steps emerging talent can take to start/further their career? First, still that weird little voice inside that whispers, “ I can’t”! Rearrange the letters so it sings, “I can”! That will leave you with a spare “t”. Use that as the ﬁrst letter of “Trust”. Trust yourself to succeed by actually doing what you aspire to. Write, direct, paint, produce… experiment! However small the enterprise, it will nourish skills that will sustain you throughout your life.
What kept you going when you felt like giving up? The knowledge that the road to come was the shorter now, because I had already got here on the road to there.
Do you believe that ‘making it’ is about luck and being in the right place at the right time? Yes. So is being born… that knowledge will help you maintain a realistic balance between ambition, vanity and pragmatism.
A BIG thank you to Lori Burchfield for making this happen!