Apocalypse Later: Francis Ford Coppola’s epic Distant Vision will take at least five years to complete

Director describes his experimental new project as “the future of cinema”

Speaking at the Tribeca Film Festival on Wednesday, legendary director Francis Ford Coppola outlined the timeline for his new feature film — and boy, is it a doozy. The experimental production is titled Distant Vision and will take at least five years to complete, in Coppola’s estimation.

Distant Vision carries an unmistakable whiff of The Godfather, both in its ambition and its actual plot. The film centers on an Italian-American family spanning four generations and boasts a screenplay that’s threatening to eclipse the 500-page mark. The experimental aspect comes in the form of something called “live cinema,” which combines live performance with more traditional methods of filmmaking. Coppola claims the project started with a simple question: “Wouldn’t it be wonderful if we could perform cinema and do it live? That was sort of the holy grail I started to go after.”

Of course, even the legends can’t just go in and make any film. Coppola claims that he still hasn’t quite figured out how to shoot the film, but he’s confident he’ll be able to figure it out on the fly. After all, he says, that’s pretty much the processed he used with Apocalypse Now.

“The truth is I had no idea how I was going to do what I was saying I was going to do,” he admits. “If you don’t get too experiment and do outrageous things like that, how can you move forward?”

Speaking of moving forward, Coppola isn’t claiming that his so-called live cinema will be the entire future of film — just one small part of it. But he is adamant that “there will be live productions that are cinematic and look like movies,” and if he has his way, Distant Vision will be only the first of many.

We’ll provide another update sometime in the next five years.


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