C2 alumni: Where are they now? Featuring filmmaker James Cameron

C2 Editorial Team
C2 alumni: Where are they now? Featuring filmmaker James Cameron

Each week, C2 brings you news about some of the big names that have graced our stage during previous editions. Featured speaker: legendary director James Cameron, C2 Montréal 2014.


Filmmaker without limits

Ontario-born cinematic adventurer James Cameron has given us the classic Alien, the phenomenal Titanic – which holds a record-tying 11 Oscars – the impressive Avatar, and many more major films that push the envelope of the seventh art. He also has numerous documentaries to his name, including the first Disney movie done in 3D, Ghosts of the Abyss, which revisits the sinking of the Titanic.

Thanks to his ingenuity and sense of innovation, this former physics student with a passion for technology has found a way to meet challenges that many considered insurmountable.


What did he speak about at C2 Montréal?

A guest of honour at C2 2014, James recounted how he quit his job as a trucker after having seen Star Wars. At the age of 24, he borrowed money from a consortium of dentists to direct and produce his first movie, Xenogenesis, a film about a killer robot that could have been found in Terminator – which he would direct a few years later. At first, he said, making his own films seemed “unreal” to him, to the point that he long doubted his own abilities and even expected that he would inevitably hit a wall.

“You have to be prepared to fail, or you will never do anything special,” he declared. “Don’t think that failure isn’t possible, even if we hope it won’t come to that!”

Known for his ecological and humanist values, at C2 James reaffirmed his personal commitment to the environment and called on corporate leaders to be more responsible in the face of climate change.

“Large corporations must also make choices that respect the planet,” he argued. He also spoke of the pro-environmental message behind Avatar, a spectacular 3D fable portraying a resource-depleted Earth and the attempted exploitation of another world, Pandora. “I’m a space geek, but we have to talk about our own planet before wanting to travel to another one.”


What’s new since C2?

James hasn’t exactly been wasting time since he was at C2. For its 25th anniversary, he revisited Terminator 2: Judgment Day (1991), giving it a digitally remastered, 3D twist in 2017. He then relinquished his director’s seat to Robert Rodriguez to write and produce Alita: Battle Angel (2019), a cinematic adaptation of Yukito Kishiro’s manga Gunnm.

James has also been busy preparing the much-anticipated four follow-up sequels to Avatar. Initially planned for 2014, and then again for this year, according to James the sequels have been delayed due to their technical complexity (e.g., the films will feature glasses-free 3D and groundbreaking underwater motion capture technology). Fans’ patience should finally be rewarded in December 2021, when Avatar 2 will reveal a new facet of the moon Pandora. Parts 3, 4 and 5 of the series are planned for release in 2023, 2025 and 2027, respectively.

James is also pursuing his commitment to the environment. In 2016, the illustrious vegan and his long-time cohort Arnold Schwarzenegger campaigned to encourage people to reduce their meat consumption. Then, a little earlier this year, James and Hobbit director Peter Jackson, announced that they were joining forces to develop new plant-based protein food products in order to help New Zealand’s struggling agricultural industry.

Clearly, James Cameron is not finished helping us realize the dream of a better world.


Meet the class of 2020

C2 Montréal has the honour of welcoming a wealth of inspiring speakers, and future C2 alumni, May 27-29, 2020.



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