What’s your film about, in 140 characters or less?
Now, what’s it REALLY about?
Tell us briefly about yourself.
The first film I directed and produced in 2001 was “Bombay Eunuch,” which features a makeshift family of eunuchs as they struggle to survive in modern India. “Stagedoor” (2006) follows five kids through a musical theater summer camp program in the Catskills. “How to Dance in Ohio” is my third feature documentary. In my work as a documentary filmmaker, I have explored how people relate to their community at large particularly when they find themselves more in the margins. How do they create worlds for themselves that make more sense for them? Often these people get labeled “misfits” or “outcasts” but I have found that the people who have the most to share about being human are the ones who are struggling the hardest. In telling the stories of so-called outsiders, I ask audiences to consider the boundaries that place them there.
What was the biggest challenge in completing this film?
What do you want audiences at Sundance to take away from your film?
I hope that the audiences at Sundance will fall in love with the film’s subjects, as I did. I want audiences to feel like they are with them, rather than watching them from a great distance. Although it’s often difficult to relate to experiences that are not our own, the access the subjects allowed our team hopefully allows people to connect with what they see and reflect on their own struggles. My work often seems to circle back to the notion that there are many different ways to be a person, and I hope the intimate nature of this film allows that to resonate for everyone.
Are there any films that inspired you?
“Grey Gardens,” “Streetwise, High School,” “Paris is Burning,” “Martha and Ethel,” “The Cruise,” “Southern Comfort,” “Billy The Kid,”and “Temple Grandin.”
What’s next for you?
I’m in production on a film portrait of a remarkable woman who I met during the process of making How to Dance in Ohio.
What cameras did you shoot on?
Did you crowdfund?
Indiewire invited Sundance Film Festival directors to tell us about their films, including what inspired them, the challenges they faced and what they’re doing next. We’ll be publishing their responses leading up to the 2015 festival. Click here for more profiles.