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Director James Cameron discusses Avatar: The Way of Water

December 19, 2022 DGA Membership Screening Q&As in LA & NY

Audiences are returned to the fantastic world of Pandora in Director James Cameron’s epic science fiction film, Avatar: The Way of Water.

The long-awaited sequel to Cameron’s DGA Award-nominated feature, Avatar, reacquaints us with some old heroes and villains and amazing new characters. Set a decade after the events of the first film, Jake Sully, the human turned Na’vi, must find a safe haven for his family when old foes return to ravage their beautiful home and destroy their harmonious way of life.

On December 18, after the DGA membership screening in Los Angeles, Cameron discussed the making of Avatar: The Way of Water during a Q&A moderated by Director Guillermo del Toro (The Shape of Water). He also spoke about the film with Director Nicole Kassell (Watchmen) following the New York screening on December 19.

During the Los Angeles conversation, Cameron spoke about how he maintains the emotion of the film through the layers of technology.

“People ask me and I think it's a perfectly valid question. How do you balance the humanistic, emotional side of it with all the layers and layers of technology? I really just get to work with the actors for like a year and a half, and we completely uncouple the photographic process. We push it later, like all the lighting and the camera moves and the lens selection and all that stuff. Because we're not doing photography, we're doing capture. So, it's really pure… it's almost like you're just in rehearsal for a year and a half and then you're done, and you've rehearsed. The rehearsal is the take.”

Cameron is an acclaimed filmmaker, explorer and environmental advocate whose other directorial credits include the feature films The Terminator, Aliens, The Abyss, Terminator 2: Judgment Day and True Lies; as well as documentaries such as Secrets of the Whales and Game Changers. His 1997 film Titanic garnered a record 14 Academy Award nominations and took home a record 11 Oscars and earned Cameron the DGA Award for Outstanding Directorial Achievement in Theatrical Feature Film. He was nominated in the same category for his 2009 feature Avatar.

Cameron has been a DGA member since 1985.

You can listen to Cameron's Q&A by clicking the podcast episode embedded below. You can find more DGA podcast episodes here.


Q&A photos by Shane Karns (Los Angeles) & Marcie Revens (New York) – Print courtesy of Walt Disney Motion Pictures Studios

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