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Meet the 2013 Tribeca Filmmakers #44: Known For Blurring Lines of the Comedic & Serious, David Zieff Brings Us 'McConkey'

Indiewire By Indiewire | Indiewire April 15, 2013 at 4:51PM

David Zieff has over three decade of experience under his belt. He worked on the Oscar-winning documentary "The Cove" and been the supervising editor for "Metallica: Some Kind of Monster." He was also senior editor of Michael Moore’s Emmy-winning series "The Awful Truth" and TV Nation as well as numerous Comedy Central shows. In his latest work, "McConkey," he's worked with a group of co-directors who each chronologically entered the project at varying times which he credits as enhancing the layers of the story.
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David Zieff
David Zieff has over three decade of experience under his belt. He worked on the Oscar-winning documentary "The Cove" and been the supervising editor for "Metallica: Some Kind of Monster." He was also senior editor of Michael Moore’s Emmy-winning series "The Awful Truth" and TV Nation as well as numerous Comedy Central shows. In his latest work, "McConkey," he's worked with a group of co-directors who each chronologically entered the project at varying times which he credits as enhancing the layers of the story.

What it's about:

McConkey is about a free-skiing, base-jumping genius named Shane McConkey-- a guy who mainstream audiences likely never heard of but who is legendary to those who have, and who is completely worth getting to know. What you might think the film is about turns out to be a much deeper reflection on how you choose to live your life.

What else should audiences know?: "It's more about understanding what the film is not -- it's not your typical sports movie. It's certainly thrilling and hypnotic and action-packed; it's full of some of the most incredible activities you'll ever see in a film-- but it's also a very funny, sensitive, and poignant human story. Early on, we test screened it for different audiences and the incredible response we got from grandmothers and young kids has been the same as that from fanatical ski-film fans - Shane chose to live his life fully everyday."

On the challenges: "The real challenge was finding the story and the meaning inside the patchwork of clips, and to connect them in a way that transcended the singular moments captured. Being true to who Shane McConkey is and was. For people in the ski/ action sports world, he's Superman. But there are so many other deeper layers that made him tick, and to represent those nuances and frailties in a relatable human way, was a real challenge."

What he hopes Tribeca audiences will come away with: "I want audiences to say, 'I understand this guy.' I may not want to huck off 50-foot cliffs or spend my free time wingsuiting in Norway, but maybe after seeing this movie, I'm inspired to make more of each day, to understand myself a little better, and find what it means for me to face any challenges that come my way."

"McConkey" still


Films that inspired him: "Everything from Jackass to Senna to The Sound Of Music. But that's just who I am. Actually, in all candor, the film came from within itself; the honest moments captured, spoke volumes about the kind of person Shane is and shaped the kind of film we would make."

What's next: "There are a number of editing and consulting projects circling, none of which are finalized. There's a powerful film about world-class mountain climbers returning yet again to climb one of the most difficult, unclimbed peaks in the Himalayas, a series of films about the culture of Brazilian soccer, a project with comedian David Steinberg, a film about Penn State, a docu-series about a wrongly and then perhaps 'rightly'convicted murderer."

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.

This article is related to: Tribeca Film Festival, Meet the 2013 Tribeca Filmmakers