Director Roger Corman to Get Locarno Film Fest Honor

PHOTOGRAPHED BY Austin Hargrave
Roger Corman

The prolific filmmaker has helped to launch the careers of actors including Jack Nicholson, Robert De Niro, Sylvester Stallone and Sandra Bullock.

Cult filmmaker Roger Corman will receive a career tribute at the 69th Locarno Film Festival, organizers said Tuesday. Known as the “Pope of Pop Cinema,” Corman has helped transform the way films are created, produced and directed.

The 90-year-old Detroit came to fame in the early 1960s with a series of low-budget films based on the works of Edgar Allan Poe, made with American International Pictures: House of Usher (1960), The Pit and the Pendulum (1961), The Premature Burial (1962), Tales of Terror (1962), The Raven (1963), The Haunted Palace (1963), The Masque of the Red Death (1964) and The Tomb of Ligeia (1964).

Corman famously shot The Little Shop of Horrors in two days and one night, which helped launch the career of a young Jack Nicholson. His films also provided major breaks for actors including Charles Bronson, Robert De Niro, Sylvester Stallone and Sandra Bullock, and further made icons out of the likes of Vincent Price, Peter Lorre and Boris Karloff.

As a producer, Corman helped to discover the talents of an entire generation of young filmmakers, leading to the emergence of directors including Francis Ford Coppola, Ron Howard, Martin Scorsese, Jonathan Demme and James Cameron.

He received an honorary Academy Award in 2010 for his contributions to film and filmmakers.

Corman will serve as the guest of honor at Locarno’s Filmmakers Academy, a festival initiative that pairs up 15 young filmmakers with industry greats.

“Merely mentioning the name 'Roger Corman' evokes an approach to understanding and making films that is synonymous with freedom and independence," said Locarno’s artistic director Carlo Chatrian. "The films he has produced and those he has directed offer an economic and artistic production model that still has much to teach us today.” 

The festival will screen Corman’s The Intruder (1962) and Masque of the Red Death (1964) and host a master class open to all attendees.

The Locarno Film Festival is set to run Aug. 3-13.

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