Robert Zemeckis

Robert Zemeckis

Date of Birth: 14.05.1952
Country: USA

  1. Biography of Robert Zemeckis
  2. Childhood and Youth
  3. Creativity and First Films
  4. First Films and Commercial Success
  5. Global Recognition and Digital Cinema

Biography of Robert Zemeckis

Robert Zemeckis, an American film director, firmly believes in the future of digital cinema. He even established a special Center dedicated to innovative computer technologies. Despite his progressive views, television has had the greatest influence on the director. He has never been close to intellectuals who make films in the spirit of the "new wave" but instead aligned himself with traditionalist directors.

Robert Zemeckis

Childhood and Youth

Robert Zemeckis was born on May 14, 1951, in Chicago. His mother was of Italian descent, and his father had Lithuanian roots. They were both Catholics and belonged to the working class. Robert studied at the Christian Fenger Academy and was far from being involved in the arts. According to the director, his childhood was devoid of books, theater, and music, with television being his only entertainment. As Zemeckis once said, television did not spoil him at all, but rather saved his life.

Robert Zemeckis

Creativity and First Films

Robert started creating his first amateur works in childhood when he found an 8mm film camera at his parents' house. He began with shooting ordinary holidays and gradually moved on to his first narrative films using puppet animation. After watching the film 'Bonnie and Clyde', Zemeckis firmly decided to become a film director. His parents did not support his passion, as they did not believe that a boy from a working-class family could become a director, and advised him to choose a different profession. But Robert's desire to prove them wrong only strengthened his determination.

Robert Zemeckis

At the University of Southern California, Zemeckis became friends with the future writer Bob Gale. They were different from other students in that they did not like pretentious intellectualism and were not interested in the trendy "new wave" cinema. They wanted to make Hollywood movies and admired Clint Eastwood. Robert and Bob were among the few who believed in traditional American cinema.

Robert Zemeckis

First Films and Commercial Success

During his studies at film school, Robert Zemeckis directed the film 'The Field of Honor' (1973), which won the Student Academy Award. But the most important thing was that he managed to gain the support of Steven Spielberg. According to Spielberg, one day Robert discreetly slipped past his secretary, sat him down, and showed him the film. The movie impressed the renowned director so much that he agreed to help Zemeckis in his endeavors.

Zemeckis' first feature film, 'I Wanna Hold Your Hand' (1978), was produced by Steven Spielberg, and the screenplay was co-written with Gale. The film was well received by critics but failed at the box office. After the release of Spielberg's film '1941', which was also a failure, Zemeckis and Gale earned a reputation as writers who create good scripts but whose films are not popular. Despite constant work, Robert essentially remained unemployed because writing scripts did not bring in any money.

Everything changed when Michael Douglas invited Zemeckis to direct the film 'Romancing the Stone' (1984). Unexpectedly, the romantic comedy became popular and performed well at the box office.

Global Recognition and Digital Cinema

The commercial success of the film 'Romancing the Stone' allowed Zemeckis to put aside all other projects and focus on his long-awaited project about time travel. The film 'Back to the Future' (1985) had an incredible success with both audiences and critics, and two sequels were released in 1989 and 1990. Robert Zemeckis was now recognized as a talented writer and promising director.

In 1988, he directed the zany detective film 'Who Framed Roger Rabbit', which received high praise and won four Academy Awards. Zemeckis finally claimed his place in Hollywood.

Zemeckis gained worldwide fame after the release of the film 'Forrest Gump' (1994) with Tom Hanks in the lead role. The film, inspired by Woody Allen's 'Zelig', tells the story of a man with low intelligence who unwittingly becomes involved in the major events of the 20th century. The film grossed $670 million at the box office and became a cult classic, winning six Academy Awards, including Best Director.

Tom Hanks also starred in two other Zemeckis films: the adventure drama 'Cast Away' (2000) and the film 'The Polar Express' (2004), which was the first to use motion capture technology. The influential publication 'The New York Times' wrote that regardless of how the film is perceived, it will be a turning point in the transition to digital cinema.

Robert Zemeckis used the same filming technology in the film 'Beowulf' (2007), a loose interpretation of the Anglo-Saxon epic. The renowned fantasy writer Neil Gaiman wrote that the film is an incredibly strong but at the same time strange interpretation of the legend of Beowulf.

In recent years, the director has been increasingly experimenting with digital cinema. In 2001, Zemeckis founded the Center for Digital Arts at the University of Southern California. It is a vast facility that includes a digital processing laboratory, production workshops, and a screening room. The center also includes a student television station and many classes at the film school.

Robert Zemeckis plans to establish a film company focused on 3D effects and computer graphics. Currently, films that utilize motion capture technology are released by 'ImageMovers Digital'. Alongside George Lucas and Steven Spielberg, Zemeckis is dedicated to popularizing digital cinema and believes in the future of computer technology in the film industry.