April 20—Whispers filled the air in a large, colorful auditorium as an anxious crowd awaited the arrival of seven-time Academy Award-winning director Sydney Pollack. He directed The Interpreter, which opened earlier this week at the Tribeca Film Festival.

Led by questions from moderator David D'Arcy, a broadcaster for the BBC, the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, and National Public Radio, this panel discussion provided a rare insight into the world of this successful actor, director, and producer.

Pollack shared his thoughts about both acting and directing, and explained how he preferred directing to acting any day. He also talked about how uncomfortable it made him feel when other directors were on his set, and how he felt like he was being spied on.

Pollack shared a special secret with his audience: He soon realized that by using his acting abilities to his advantage, he could both spy and learn different methods while he acted on another director's set, without anyone knowing what he was really doing.

The audience viewed a handful of clips that represented the variety of films he directed throughout his career. After Pollack shared his thoughts about each particular film, the audience was able to see the different sides of him as each movie expressed something different. He talked about thoughts that were on his mind and what was happening in his life and the world at the time he directed each movie.

He also shared other insights with the crowd, including how he does not believe in rehearsing scenes. He confessed that with every film he has directed, he never once had a sense of how many people would watch it—he becomes so involved in the making and production of it that he often forgets it will be seen once it is finished.

Toward the end, the discussion turned to his latest film, The Interpreter. An audience member asked Pollack how it felt to be the first director to film a movie in the United Nations (UN). The director gave a long, heartfelt response and spoke of the enormous responsibility he felt and how he wanted to be as faithful as possible to what the UN represents. He also talked about the challenges, both emotional and physical, that faced him and his crew throughout filming. He said he wanted to capture the spirit of the UN.

When asked which of his films he liked most and why, Pollack laughed and said, "Asking me to pick a favorite film is like asking me to pick my favorite child—it's impossible to choose."