David Tesdeschi Jumps from Editor to Co-Director on Martin Scorsese Documentary

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Co-directed by Martin Scorsese and his longtime documentary collaborator David Tesdeschi, the HBO documentary The 50 Year Argument tells the history of the venerable magazine, New York Review of Books.

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Margaret Bodde, David Tedeschi, Martin Scorsese. Photo by Brigitte Lacombe/HBO.

“Bob Silvers [the NYRB's Editor] and Rea Hederman [the NYRB's Publisher] came to Marty [Scorsese] with the idea that maybe he'd be interested in doing a movie on New York Review of Books,” Tedeschi explains to Word and Film about the genesis of the project. “[Scorsese] was working on Wolf [of Wall Street] and they were anxious that something be done within a year or year and a half. And that's when he suggested I work on it too and that the two of us collaborate and work on it as quickly as we could, which turned out to be eighteen months.”

Though Tedeschi has worked as an editor with Scorsese on a number of his previous documentaries, this was the first time that he shared a directing credit. “I think the main difference was that I was involved all the way through. So for something like No Direction Home, I was not involved in the interviews or even George Harrison: Living in a Material World, where I might have been there when they filmed,” he explains. “Here I did the interviews ... In a way, that was the real difference ... It was very similar to how we always worked, except in production I was much, much more involved. And I think in post, he was more open. We kind of walked through it together.”

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