What do Scream, Jaws, and Guess Who’s Coming To Dinner? have to do with one another? They all inspired Jordan Peele in the writing of Get Out, the Academy Award-winning screenplay that lent a fresh voice to an ongoing discourse about race in America. 

That got us thinking about the movies that have shaped our own imaginations as filmmakers. Through our regular newsletter we asked: What are the movies that make you want to make movies? Here are some of the answers you gave.

A Ghost Story and The Fits both helped me realize that I want to make the kind of movies that live on in your head after you watch them. I call it “an aftertaste.” The Fits, in particular is a film that I understood and reacted to more in the days after watching it than I did in the theater. Even though I’ve only seen the movie twice, I’ve played almost every scene over and over in my head many times over the past few years. I uncover another layer or another question every time I think about it. This has helped me to realize the gift of “loose ends” in stories — not everything needs to be wrapped up or explained. 

Erin Brown Thomas, director


Since I was a kid, Back to the Future and Ghostbusters have been my favorite movies. I love these films because they play with the imagination of the paranormal and possible, using the medium of humor to take us along for the ride. The topics would be fascinating on their own, but they are just so dang fun and accessible thanks to the comedy involved. 

Hunter Stiebel, actor/writer


I absolutely loved everything about Sophia Coppola’s Marie Antoinette, and wanted to listen to the soundtrack all day. I had never seen a film so beautiful, feminine, and so bold in its choices and style. I didn’t realize you could make a film like that! I fell in love with the thought that I could approach filmmaking the same way.

Mikaela Bruce, writer/director


I love watching films by Miranda July, whether it is her feature films or her Instagram feed. It sparks the inspiration everywhere — from the Penny Saver to a dance move; art is a reflection of life.

Alexia Anastasio, producer/director


It’s impossible to choose, but I have at least three: Raiders of the Lost Ark — the movie that made me love movies. And dead Nazis are always a plus. Chasing Amy — I haven’t loved a Kevin Smith film in a really long time, but I’ll always be grateful to this one for showing me what could be accomplished with a dream and a tiny budget. Mulholland Dr. — a failed TV pilot turned into one of the most lauded films of the new millennium. A perfect example of how filmmakers can roll with punches, and respond boldly to rejection and limitations.

Jordan Krause, writer/producer (his film Love, Antosha opens in LA this weekend!)

Which movies got you into the business (or keep you inspired)?      Click here to share!