“This film is not just about Richard Linklater and his films but the spirit and need of independent filmmakers and films, emphatically saying to all: just do it! Go and make your film!” said Louis Black
Slacker. Indie filmmaker. Oscar nominee. Writer, director, producer, actor Richard Linklater (b. July 30, 1960) is all these things and more. Boasting a trove of never-before-seen archival footage, American Masters: Richard Linklater – dream is destiny provides an unconventional look at the fiercely independent style of filmmaking that emerged out of Austin, Texas in the late 1980s and 1990s with Linklater as its poster boy. The new documentary premieres nationwide Friday, September 1 at 9 p.m. on PBS.
Self-taught writer-director Richard Stuart Linklater was born in Houston, Texas, to Diane Margaret (Krieger), who taught at a university, and Charles W. Linklater III. Richard was among the first and most successful talents to emerge during the American independent film renaissance of the 1990s. Typically setting each of his movies during one 24-hour period, Linklater’s work explored what he dubbed “the youth rebellion continuum,” focusing in fine detail on generational rites and mores with rare compassion and understanding while definitively capturing the 20-something culture of his era through a series of nuanced, illuminating ensemble pieces which introduced any number of talented young actors into the Hollywood firmament. Born in Houston, Texas, Linklater suspended his educational career at Sam Houston State University in 1982, to work on an offshore oil rig in the Gulf of Mexico. He subsequently relocated to the state’s capital of Austin, where he founded a film society and began work on his debut film, 1987’s It’s Impossible to Learn to Plow by Reading Books (1988). Three years later he released the sprawling Slacker (1991), an insightful, virtually plotless look at 1990s youth culture that became a favorite on the festival circuit prior to earning vast acclaim at Sundance in 1991. Upon its commercial release, the movie, made for less than $23,000, became the subject of considerable mainstream media attention, with the term “slacker” becoming a much-overused catch-all tag employed to affix a name and identity to America’s disaffected youth culture.
More notable films include the romantic drama film trilogy Before Sunrise (1995), Before Sunset (2004), and Before Midnight (2013); the music-themed comedy School of Rock (2003), and the rotoscope animated Waking Life (2001) and A Scanner Darkly (2006). In 2002 he began filming Boyhood (2014), a passion project which took over twelve years to finish. The film was premiered in 2014 to critical acclaim. Linklater won the Golden Globe,Critics’ Choice Movie Awards and BAFTAs for Best Director and Best Picture. He also received his first nomination for the Academy Award for Best Director, along with nominations for Original Screenplay and Picture. In 2015, Time magazine named Linklater one of the 100 most influential people in the world on the annual Time 100 list.