Cover image for The encyclopedia of filmmakers
The encyclopedia of filmmakers
Tibbetts, John C.
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
New York : Facts on File, [2002]

Physical Description:
2 volumes : illustrations ; 25 cm.
v. 1. A-K -- v. 2. L-Z.


Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
PN1998.2 .T53 2002 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks

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In two volumes, this reference provides a survey that profiles more than 350 filmmakers from every branch of the industry, including independent films, French new wave, documentaries, Hollywood blockbusters, silent films, and more. Filmmakers have been chosen for the strength of their cinematic vision. Each entry features a biographical portrait of the filmmaker, including a glimpse of his or her early work and entry into the industry, followed by a discussion of key films and the major themes within them. A critical analysis places each filmmaker in the context of his or her culture and time. Filmmakers profiled include Woody Allen, Allison Anders, Ingmar Bergman, Bernado Bertolucci, Jane Campion, Francis Ford Coppola, Walt Disney, Nora Ephron, Milos Forman, Jean-Luc Godard, Werner Herzog, Norman Jewison, Akira Kurosawa, David Mamet, Martin Scorsese, John Singleton, Steven Spielberg, Francois Truffaut, Billy Wilder, and Franco Zeffirelli.

Reviews 3

Booklist Review

The title of this new set is a bit misleading, because "filmmaker" is limited in scope to "director." The set contains more than 350 entries on individual directors, arranged alphabetically by surname and generally ranging in length from one to four pages. The geographic and artistic range is expansive; the set attempts to embody a "representative selection of international 20th-century movie directors from across all film genres." Entries are written by film scholars, and the editors and contributors appear to have made selections based on personal preferences as to who they feel is significant. Each entry gives brief biographical and critical commentary on the director, explaining his or her entry into the film industry, followed by a discussion of key films and major themes. The entry concludes with a list of "Other Films" not discussed in the essay and references from books and periodicals for further reading. More than 80 black-and-white photographs and drawings accompany the material. The encyclopedia concludes with a list of contributors and affiliations, a selected general bibliography, and an index. As with any project of this nature, complaints are bound to surface over exclusions or inequitable coverage of the directors who are included. This encyclopedia does a laudable job of trying to include cinematic regions that are often neglected, for example, providing an entry on Brazilian director Mario Peixoto and discussion of his classic Limite and an entry on the African filmmaker Ousmane Sembene. However, at times the amount of coverage allotted to certain directors seems arbitrary. Established director George Cukor gets less written about him than contemporary indie Allison Anders. And sometimes important films are glossed over--Russian director Tarkovsky's Solaris is mentioned only in passing while his Andrei Rublyov gets an entire page devoted to it. More consistent in its coverage of directors is the similar-minded volume two of the International Dictionary of Films and Filmmakers (St. James, 2000), which also lists more comprehensive bibliographies and has a more erudite tone. Also comparable in aim is World Film Directors (H. W. Wilson, 1987^-1988), which features longer essays but, despite its title, favors English-speaking countries heavily. Providing a survey of important directors encompassing a wide range of geographical territory, The Encyclopedia of Filmmakers is recommended for public and academic libraries. It complements the International Dictionary of Films and Filmmakers and World Film Directors with some unique content amid the overlap. Because coverage is uneven, libraries already owning the other titles may not feel the need to add to their holdings.

Library Journal Review

As noted film scholars Tibbetts and Welsh admit in their introduction, their roster of slightly more than 350 directors is "hardly a comprehensive one." The select few are each given two- to three-page entries, which are written with clarity and enthusiasm and end with brief bibliographies. The subjects come from many countries and ethnic backgrounds and include directors of experimental, documentary, animated, and silent films; special attention is given to American directors whose first films were released in the 1990s. Such a limited number of directors makes it difficult not to quibble over the selection Alan Alda instead of Warren Beatty, M. Night Shyamalan instead of Pedro Almodovar, and the fabled Alan Smithee instead of any flesh-and-blood director. Perhaps eliminating the generally small illustrations provided for about a third of the entries would have allowed the authors to add several more names to their roster. Complete filmographies are not included; instead, some films are mentioned in the text and the rest listed afterward. Unfortunately, only films cited in the text appear in the index, making access by film title incomplete. The index is also inconsistent in noting the directors' nationalities and ethnic backgrounds. The lively writing and emphasis on young American directors may make this title a good choice for high school or junior college libraries, but The International Dictionary of Films and Filmmakers: Directors, edited by Nicolet V. Elert and others, offers a considerably larger roster, more international scope, and better illustrations and indexing. Vivian Reed, California State Univ. Lib., Long Beach (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Choice Review

Edited by the familiar team of Tibbetts and Welsh (The Encyclopedia of Stage Plays into Film, CH, Dec'01; The Encyclopedia of Novels into Film, CH, Jun'98), this set lists alphabetically some 350 past and present filmmakers worldwide, representing directors associated with important film movements (e.g., French New Wave, Dogme 95), documentaries, Hollywood blockbusters, silent films, and more. The editors intend to "represent a cross-section of biographical and critical commentary on each director" and to make their book serve as a jumping-off point for further study. Contributed by a team of film scholars, academics, and fans, signed entries feature brief biographical portraits of filmmakers, snapshots of their early work and entry into the industry, and discussions of key films and their major themes. All entries end with brief bibliographies of mainstream books and articles. Volume 2 ends with a roster of contributors, a general bibliography, and a combined index of directors, films, and film movements. While useful, this title has some significant flaws--its entries are too selective, editing lacks control, and choice of contributors is questionable. The editors' criteria for selection often result in questionable choices; e.g., Joan Chen is included but neither Michael Cimino nor the more commercial Penny Marshall. Entries vary widely in length--Frank Capra has eight pages, Billy Wilder just over two--and in quality. While the index is satisfactory, separate indexes that included directors by country would have been useful. A comparable work, World Film Directors, ed. by John Wakeman (v.1, CH, Apr'88), while now dated, is stronger in its coverage of early filmmakers. Useful to film novices and undergraduates, this title is recommended for academic and public libraries to complement Wakeman. P. Mardeusz University of Vermont



Films have an undeniable place in 20th-century popular culture. People of every background and age are able to find in movies the expression of their deepest hopes, dreams, anxieties, fears, and emotions. They are often touched by the lives of the characters portrayed or by the times or places in which a film is set. In the movies, the past, present, and future are often combined in imaginative ways, and the audience is free to suspend their disbelief. As much as skillful actors, excellent stories, and beautiful cinematography contribute to creating the greatest films, it is the filmmakers who are ultimately responsible for a film's final form. From the early days to the present, the directors' visions translated into film have played an important role in determining how audiences react to the films they see. In two comprehensive volumes, The Encyclopedia of Filmmakers provides a wide-ranging survey that profiles more than 350 filmmakers from every branch of the industry, including independent films, French new wave, documentaries, Hollywood blockbusters, silent films, and much more. Each filmmaker has been chosen for the strength of their cinematic vision. Carefully researched and written by a team of film scholars, each entry features a biographical portrait of the filmmaker, a glimpse at his or her early work and entry into the industry, and a discussion of key films and the major themes within them. A critical analysis places each filmmaker in the context of his/her culture and time. Written in an accessible style, the text is further complemented by more than 80 photographs and drawings that provide compelling portraits of the faces rarely seen on-screen. An index and bibliography provide sources for further reading and research. Filmmakers profiled include: Woody Allen Allison Anders Ingmar Bergman Bernardo Bertolucci Jane Campion Francis Ford Coppola Walt Disney Nora Ephron Milos Forman Jean-Luc Godard Werner Herzog Norman Jewison Akira Kurosawa David Mamet Martin Scorsese John Singleton Stephen Spielberg Francois Truffaut Billy Wilder Franco Zeffirelli. Excerpted from The Encyclopedia of Filmmakers by John C. Tibbetts, James Michael Welsh All rights reserved by the original copyright owners. Excerpts are provided for display purposes only and may not be reproduced, reprinted or distributed without the written permission of the publisher.