Deutsche Kinemathek, Berlin, Germany
From: 11 August 2011
Until: 27 November 2011
Between Film and Art
Tuesday - Sunday: 10am until 6pm
Thursdays until 8pm
"The storyboard for me is the way to visualise the entire movie in advance," says Martin Scorsese, the Oscar winning director of The Departed (2006) and Taxi Driver (1976).
Films are laboriously slaved over by directors, producers, costumiers and engineers. This army of people follow the vision laid out on the storyboard - the plan from which everyone works and bases their ideas around.
"Storyboards express what I want to communicate," Scorsese continues, "they show how I would imagine a scene and how it should move to the next. My storyboards are absolutely essential for my team meetings."
Examining how the storyboard has become a work of art in itself is explored in an exhibition, Between Film and Art: Storyboards from Hitchcock to Spielberg - which moves to the Deutsche Kinemathek in Berlin from Kunsthalle Emden this Thursday (11 August until 27 November). The curators have juxtaposed storyboards with more traditional works of art to draw on their similarities and consider the influence on their aesthetic or conceptual approaches.
The storyboard artist develops their own style and Between Film and Art shows how the artist's way of working influences the final film. "Pencil drawing is my favourite," says Scorsese of his medium of choice. "The pencil line leaves little impression on the paper, so if the storyboard is photocopied it loses something. I refer back to my original drawings in order for me to conjure up the idea I had when I saw the pencil line made."
The exhibition features storyboards, film clips and artwork from some of the most notable films, directors and artists including, Victor Felming's Gone with the Wind (1939), Disney's Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs (1937), A.I. (2001) by Steven Spielberg and artwork by Alex Katz, Calder, Andy Warhol and Max Ernst.
Storyboards and scenes from Alfred Hitchcock's Spellbound (1945) are displayed alongside artwork from Tony Oursler and Ernst which bear much resemblance to the films storyboard, in style and content, with singular eyes featuring prominently in all three pieces. Boards from Apocalypse Now (1979), directed by Francis Ford Coppola are shown to be similar to sketches by Georg Baselitz drawn in 1966. While storyboards from George Lucas' Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope (1977) are shown alongside 19th century Japanese woodblock prints by Katushika Hokusai which show men fighting with long poles forming a fight much like that of Luke Skywalker and Darth Vader.
While we can appreciate the artistic elements of these storyboards it's worth considering whether these elaborate works have a place in the process of modern day films. It seems hand drawn storyboarding has become increasingly redundant with the widespread use of 3D CGI models to plan action sequences, intricate camera movements and even lighting and weather conditions.
"To some degree, the storyboard has become superfluous" says Scorsese. "The process is still the same for me, I shall continue to make 'mini-storyboards' and notes at the edge of my screenplay. These drawings continue to serve as both a basis of my meetings with cameramen as well as any preparatory designs we need. These storyboards are not the only means of communication for what I imagine, but they are the point where I begin."