On 9th March 2016, an audience settled into a sold-out event at the Filmhouse on Lothian Road to hear from Oliver Stone, in conversation with Dr Jonny Murray (Director of Undergraduate studies, School of Design). This was the culmination of a series of workshops with the writer and director, organised by the University of Edinburgh in partnership with Edinburgh Filmhouse.

The evening event was a chance to gain an insight into his artistic and political motivations, and thoughts on how the film industry has changed throughout his thirty-year career.

Edinburgh College of Art (ECA) students were invited along to the event, which would have been of particular interest to those studying the Film & TV – BA (Hons) and Film Directing – MA programmes. Ella Howlett, who is in her first year of the Film & TV – BA (Hons) programme, attended. “I’d been a fan of Oliver Stone’s films prior to the event – my favourite being Natural Born Killers!” she said, “He was a fantastic speaker. After the talk I felt so motivated.”

“It inspires us to work harder to achieve greater things, it gives us guidance to become better filmmakers,” she said of the opportunity to attend the event, “it makes us realise that, if that normal person got to be so successful, what’s to say we can’t get there too?”

Dr Jonny Murray hosted the evening’s conversation. “While Oliver has a widespread reputation as a political filmmaker, it was clear from his visit to us that he’s also highly engaged with the aesthetic and emotional aspects of cinematic storytelling,” said Jonny, “The importance that Oliver accorded to discussing his personal history (he noted that he was born in the shadow of the atom bomb in 1946) alongside his professional one made me better understand the extent to which his body of work can be seen as an ongoing individual attempt to explore and understand the course and consequences of American history between the start of the twentieth century and the present.”

“The opportunities that studying Film in Edinburgh creates for students to attend interviews and masterclasses with a diverse range of international filmmakers are matched by very few other cities,” he said.