Having appeared in countless films of note, Rolex plays a prominent part in the world of cinema. A film encompassing the spirit of Rolex and cinema was broadcast widely during last year’s Oscars, featuring memorable movie scenes of legendary characters wearing Rolex. These watches were often specifically chosen by the filmmakers and, in some cases, even belonged to the actors themselves. The film provides a snapshot of Rolex throughout the years.
Today, as a keeper of time and a long-standing witness to world events, the Swiss watchmaker has taken the initiative to nurture the art of storytelling and foster learning among the generation of filmmakers by partnering with the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (AMPAS), a.k.a. the Academy, as well as cinema’s heavyweights.
This initiative can be traced back to the Rolex Mentor and Protege Arts programme, established since 2002 with the aim to make a contribution to global culture. The programme seeks out gifted young artists from all over the world and brings them together with artistic masters for a year of creative collaboration in a one-to-one mentoring relationship. Past mentors in film included Academy Award winners Alejandro G. Iñárritu, Martin Scorsese, Alfonso Cuarón and film editor Walter Murch; the Oscar-nominated directors Stephen Frears and Mira Nair, as well as renowned Chinese filmmaker Zhang Yimou.
In 2017, Rolex solidified its place in cinema and forged a partnership with the Academy as the exclusive watch partner and a Proud Sponsor of the Oscars. Rolex supports the Academy as it represents the pinnacle of cinematic art, preserving the history of cinema and in its recognition of exceptional achievement.
This year, a Rolex film was unveiled during the 90th Academy Awards, featuring an impressive line-up of four outstanding filmmakers, who have each won Best Director for their work, namely Kathryn Bigelow, James Cameron, Alejandro G. Iñárritu and Martin Scorsese. These Rolex Testimonees represent the pinnacle of achievement in film, each with their own style and personality have contributed to creating some of the most unforgettable cinematic experiences.
“Rolex supports inspiring individuals and organisations who achieve great heights in both the sporting world and the arts. The Academy and the four exceptional Rolex Testimonees in cinema – Kathryn Bigelow, James Cameron, Alejandro G. Iñárritu and Martin Scorsese – exemplify a determination to reach unimaginable goals. They share with Rolex the understanding of the importance of time and making a mark on the world through excellence in storytelling,” said Arnaud Boetsch, Rolex Director of Communication & Image.
Rolex’s role in film also includes being a Founding Supporter of the Academy Museum of Motion Pictures. Due to open in Los Angeles in 2019, the museum is purposed to retrace and preserve the history of cinema, and features a Rolex Gallery contributed by Rolex.
For the past three consecutive years, Rolex has also designed and hosted the Greenroom at the Oscars. The 2018 Greenroom opened up to an entirely new world, one that reflected Rolex and its Swiss heritage. In a similar fashion to how films create new universes, Rolex transports its Greenroom guests to its own world in a contemporary chalet high up in the Swiss mountains.
FOUR EXCEPTIONAL STORYTELLERS
The following filmmakers have the ability to connect with people across generations, cultures and boundaries, to expand their worlds and allow them to discover something new. They create films that live beyond the screen, or, as Kathryn Bigelow puts it, “films that endure”. James Cameron, who has been part of the Rolex family for many years, was the first Rolex Testimonee in the field, and with Kathryn Bigelow, Alejandro G. Iñárritu and Martin Scorsese, they collectively represent some of the best directors working in film today; all together, their films have won 57 Academy Awards.
An acclaimed director, writer, producer and explorer, Cameron is responsible for some of the most memorable films of the past three decades: The Terminator (1984), Aliens (1986), The Abyss (1989), Terminator 2: Judgement Day (1991), True Lies (1994), Titanic (1997), and Avatar (2009). His films have blazed new trails in visual effects and set numerous performance records both domestically and abroad; Avatar is the highest grossing film in history, and Titanic held that same record for 12 years. Cameron’s films have also earned numerous nominations and awards. Most notably, Titanic received 14 Academy Award nominations and won 11 Oscars, both records, including Cameron’s three Oscars for Best Picture, Best Director and Best Editing.
Cameron has worn a Rolex for several decades. Rolex watches appear organically in his films; he gave the late actor Bill Paxton a Submariner to wear during the filming of Titanic. “Great movies are made in details, and not just a few details – every detail. Every character, every prop and every sequence,” Cameron said. “A Rolex is not only a beautiful watch and a masterpiece of engineering, it’s very tough. It’s a watch that you can take into any environment and which can stand up to the pressure. So, what you’re saying subliminally to the audience is: that character can take the pressure, too; he or she has what it takes.”
Cameron described his experience of being in the film with the other directors, “All four of us have very different styles and we’re interested in very different types of subjects, but what we have in common is a devotion to excellence, from a unique and visionary perspective on the world.”
Scorsese is a towering figure in cinema, a director, producer and screenwriter with a career spanning 50 years, with many of his films considered some of the greatest ever made. The passionate film lover has raised our consciousness of ongoing film preservation. He grew up in New York’s Little Italy and made his first films in the late 1960’s. He re-defined our ideas of what was possible in movies with such classics as Mean Streets (1973), Taxi Driver (1976) and Raging Bull (1980).
Sharing his thoughts on film, Scrosese said, “Film really tells us who we are. Tells us about ourselves. There’s a reflection of the society that we were at the time, our philosophy of life.”
Scorsese’s unique combination of artistry, charisma and generosity continue to inspire filmmakers and audiences worldwide. Details play a crucial role in telling a story on screen and in many of his most iconic films, Scorsese has chosen to feature Rolex watches, with a preference for the Oyster Perpetual Day-Date.
In 2008, Scorsese became a mentor for the Rolex Mentor and Protégé Arts Initiative. He chose to work with the young Argentinean filmmaker Celina Murga, who was by his side for the filming of Shutter Island (2010). The man has had a profound effect on the art form that became his vocation at a very early age. During the making of the Rolex film, he made a statement that aptly summarizes his eternally youthful creative energy, “If it moves a young person, if it instills that kind of excitement and inspiration, I like that very much. I like to see what they do if they’re inspired by something I’ve done.”
Alejandro G. Inarritu
The winner of two consecutive Oscars for Best Director (Birdman in 2015 and The Revenant in 2016), Iñárritu is known for his exploration of the human condition, coupled with his visual style, which has established him as a force to be reckoned with.
His latest work, CARNE y ARENA (Virtually present, Physically invisible), is a conceptual virtual reality installation based on true accounts that allows the viewer to experience a fragment of the personal journey of refugees. First presented at the 2017 Cannes Film Festival, it was awarded a special Oscar at the ninth annual Governors Awards, Iñárritu’s fifth Academy Award. The Academy stated that the award was presented in recognition of a “visionary and powerful experience in storytelling.”
Iñárritu was film mentor in the 2014–2015 Rolex Mentor and Protégé Arts Initiative, where he took his protégé under his wing on the set of The Revenant. Time is an essential element in his films, as he stated, “Life is multidimensional, but time is linear; we cannot escape that. Cinema is a two-dimensional reality within a frame, but time and space are fragmented, which is why it’s so liberating and addictive.”
The first and only woman to win an Academy Award for Best Director, Bigelow’s command of visual narrative, her tenacity and her choice of subjects that have the ability to provoke change, have redefined the landscape of cinema today. The American director also acts as producer and writer for many of her films. Bigelow co-wrote and directed her first feature film The Loveless in 1981, and in the 1990s directed a trilogy of action films, Blue Steel (1989), Point Break (1991) and Strange Days (1995), in which she challenged the conventions of action cinema.
Her subsequent films solidified her position as a Hollywood heavyweight with the political action-thrillers, The Hurt Locker in 2008 and Zero Dark Thirty in 2012. For The Hurt Locker, Bigelow was awarded Best Picture and Best Director by the Academy. With her most recent film, Detroit, Bigelow brought to life a story based on the 1967 Detroit riots, concerning race-related violence in the United States. Her films provoke an examination of the politics that surround us, and have established the director as a true auteur.
Regarding film as a journalistic experience, Bigelow said, “If the purpose of art is to agitate for change then film should expose us to something we don’t already know.” Of appearing with the other three directors in the Rolex film, Bigelow said that she felt “extremely humbled and honoured to be in the company of such extraordinary and enduring talents.”