Richard Linklater: Dream Is Destiny

Directed by Karen Bernstein and Louis Black

Starring Richard Linklater

Highlighting one of the most innovative American directors, this film reveals the path traveled by the auteur from his small-town Texas roots to his warm reception on the awards circuit. Long before he directed Boyhood, Richard Linklater’s intense desire to create fueled his work outside the Hollywood system. Rather than leave Texas, he chose to collaborate with like-minded artists crafting modest, low-budget films in a DIY style. His ability to showcase realistic characters and tell honest stories was evident from his films, and others soon took notice of his raw talent.


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  • ★★★½ review by Gert McGert on Letterboxd

    I am so thankful for Richard Linklater. His films are awash with the sadness of the passage of time, but also the textural beauty of the human experience. Is real life not the same melancholy smile?

  • ★★★★ review by Rialto Channel on Letterboxd


    By Helene Ravlich

    “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!”


    Slacker. Indie filmmaker. Oscar nominee. Aspiring novelist. Director. Producer. Actor… it’s about time someone made a film delving into the supreme talent that is Richard Linklater, and that has been done most admirably in tonight’s documentary, RICHARD LINKLATER: DREAM IS DESTINY.

    A feature documentary on the life and work of the indie filmmaker, it was produced and directed by a long time friend of the subject’s - Louis Black (founder of the SXSW Festivals and the Austin Chronicle) - and Karen Bernstein, an Emmy and Grammy Award winning documentary filmmaker. And as much as it uses Linklater as its point of focus, it’s also a fascinating insight into the fiercely independent style of filmmaking and scene that arose from Austin, Texas in the late 1980s and early 90's.

    Linklater's efforts have gone on to really epitomize what is now known as the Austin filmmaking style, from SLACKER and DAZED AND CONFUSED through to BOYHOOD, and have long inspired a low budget, bang it out in your own backyard movement all around the world. In his early days, Linklater really was a one-man band, filming himself using a tripod and recording audio tracks on his Sony Walkman. Once he got serious, though, what made the still-supremely chilled director special is that he became a communal artist but one with a clear vision – and that vision was always all his own. This documentary demonstrates that ably, by showing us how he might have made SLACKER with an Austin cinematic collective, but every shot and idea was ultimately Linklater’s. It has been said many times that he was the artist, and the collective were part of a community who had become - without always quite knowing it - his crew.

    I love how RICHARD LINKLATER: DREAM IS DESTINY celebrates the director’s continuing ambivalence toward big studios, even as he worked within them. His decision to remain living and working in Austin is radical in itself from a career-politics point of view. His decision has kept him away from where the action is, and given him the freedom of distance that not many young directors could afford. The film also features testimony to the uniqueness of his way of working from big names like Jack Black, Kevin Smith, Ethan Hawke, Julie Delpy, Patricia Arquette and Matthew McConaughey. The late Jonathan Demme also speaks, and it is fondly and with much respect.

    RICHARD LINKLATER: DREAM IS DESTINY also details some of the creation of the beautiful BOYHOOD over the years, which I love. Linklater gives us a fascinatingly honest account of how, in shooting the movie over 12 years, he genuinely didn’t know what he had on his hands and in the can. He recounts that he knew he had a great gimmick and an outline, but actually wrote the script year by year, and at moments worried that there really was “not much there”. But like many a Linklater film there definitely was much there, and I cannot wait to see his creative endeavours still to come.

    RICHARD LINKLATER: DREAM IS DESTINY premieres Thursday 24 August at 8.30pm on Rialto Channel

  • ★★★½ review by Luis_989 on Letterboxd

    Richard Linklater isn't one of my favorite filmmakers, not by far but some of his film are among my favorites of all time.

    This documentary is short and partial but it will be a pleasant experience to watch for anybody who likes his work.

  • ★★★★½ review by zeta on Letterboxd

    ★★★★ ½ – Yippie-ki-yay, motherf—er

    Искренняя, трогательная и крайне вдохновляющая документалка об одном из талантливейших инди-режиссеров современности. Хочу быть таким, как Линклейтер.

  • ★★★★ review by One Room With A View on Letterboxd


    As you watch Linklater, moving around his beautiful land deep in his native Austin, Texas, you notice he ticks all the boxes. Relaxed, amiable, informed, and understated; that’s Linklater all right. And to some extent this documentary has no ambition to alter the stereotype. Black and Bernstein’s film is a glorious sponge for the endless thoughts pouring out of the filmmaker.

    Yet there is more to it than simply intellectual conversation. Black, co-director and long-time friend of Linklater, adds an authentic and friendly spine to this introspective tale. Through their familiarity, Black can bring out the best in Linklater as the director feels free to wax lyrical about his triumphs and values. In doing so, the image of an idle genius evolves into a portrait of an utterly driven and focused individual. A man who deeply cares for the art he makes.

    Positivity and insight are a wondrous pair, but it would have been good to hear more of the latter, especially surrounding the blotches on his CV. Bar a five-minute montage, little is said on the back-to-back misfires he experienced between 2005 and 2008.

    That being said, the myriad famous individuals lining up to praise him only convince you that maybe these faults were simply out of his hands. Messages from Matthew McConaughey, Jack Black, and, in particular, Ethan Hawke add useful flavour to the dish. In particular it’s Hawke’s confession over the importance of Before Sunset in his own life, saving him from his demons, that lands. That’s when the true impact and quality of Linklater becomes beautifully evident.

    To those indifferent to the Texan: a humble recommendation to look elsewhere. Yet to fans of Linklater, welcome to paradise. This is an enjoyable and insightful, albeit light-touch, dive into the work of a fascinating individual.

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