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by Indiewire
April 15, 2013 4:52 PM
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Meet the 2013 Tribeca Filmmakers #45: Sean Dunne Takes an Inside Look at Prescription Drug Culture in 'Oxyana'

Sean Dunne

Sean Dunne is a New York based documentary filmmaker who previously created five short films before foraying into feature length with "Oxyana." Passionate about story telling, he gained his experience through interviewing individuals over the course of four years as a writer and producer for the History Channel. 

What it's about: Oxyana is a portrait of a small coal mining town in West Virginia that has become the epicenter of the prescription drug epidemic.

Films that inspired him: "I was thinking a lot about Harlan County, USA by Barbra Koppel and Vernon, FL by Errol Morris when we decided to make this film. Stylistically, I'm really drawn in by their simplicity and confidence. Those are just a couple examples of documentaries that really gave their subjects space to express themselves while being a part of a larger story. That's what we set out to capture with Oxyana so those films were required viewing for our team."

On the challenges: "The actual shooting was the hardest part of the process. I point that out because it's not necessarily always the case, in fact it's usually the opposite. We were understandably met with quite a bit of skepticism when we arrived in Oceana. While many of the people we approached were more than happy to talk to us there were those who flat out didn't want us there. We even had a few death threats when we first began shooting. Every moment of shooting was tense. Every moment. Not the most ideal conditions to make a film, but that feeling is the norm there and I feel our film reflects that."


What he hopes Tribeca audiences will walk away with: "A more compassionate, more evolved way of thinking about drug abuse and class in America. It's something that's really ugly and it's something most people would probably rather ignore, but it's there and the problem is spreading. I hope this film inspires discussion how and why this has happened and how it can be prevented in other struggling communities."

What's next: "I'm currently making a documentary called Cam Girlz about the sub culture of women who make their living by performing sex shows on their web cams. This thing is going to be fucking awesome."

Indiewire invited Tribeca 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 2013 festival.

Keep checking HERE every day up to the launch of the festival on April 17 for the latest profiles.