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Meet the 2013 Tribeca Filmmakers #33: Zachary Heinzerling Documents a Complicated Relationship in 'Cutie and the Boxer'

Indiewire By Indiewire | Indiewire April 15, 2013 at 10:51AM

Zachary Heinzerling didn't go to film school but the Houstan, Texas native did go to the same school as Wes Anderson, which happens to be where "Rushmore" was shot. He auditioned to play the role of Dirk in "Rushmore: when he was in the 6th grade but didn't get the part. A philosophy major in college, he says he mostly learned about making films through watching them and therefore credits Tarkovsky, Pennebaker, and the Maysles as his mentors.
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Zachary Heinzerling
Zachary Heinzerling didn't go to film school but the Houstan, Texas native did go to the same school as Wes Anderson, which happens to be where "Rushmore" was shot. He auditioned to play the role of Dirk in "Rushmore: when he was in the 6th grade but didn't get the part. A philosophy major in college, he says he mostly learned about making films through watching them and therefore credits Tarkovsky, Pennebaker, and the Maysles as his mentors.

What it's about: It's a portrait of two married artists who completely need and love each other, but would never admit it.

What else should audiences know?: "It’s about what it means to be an artist-- the intense highs and lows, the sacrifices you make, and the realities you ultimately face. On the one hand, Noriko, who once gave up art to take care of her husband and her son, is now re-inventing herself through her work, and finally escaping Ushio’s long shadow. And on the other hand, Ushio, who gained a lot of notoriety early on in his career, but never financial success, is now in his twilight years and struggling to find his legacy and leave his mark on the art world."

On the challenges: "One huge challenge for me was figuring out when to stop filming. When your subjects are living, and their lives are the subject of the film, the story continues to unfold after shooting stops. While the film itself seems to take place over the course of about a year, in actuality, it took over 5 years to make. A lot of that time is just spent waiting for things to play out, and waiting for the seeds of change to actualize. I wanted to capture those moments, instead of trying to force or create something that didn't feel true to my subjects."

What he hopes audiences will walk away with: "Love is complicated. Relationships work or don’t work for reasons we cannot always articulate. I hope that audiences will recognize themselves in Ushio and Noriko’s story, and consider their own relationships after watching."

"Cutie and the Boxer"

Films that inspired him: "One film in particular is Hirokazu Kore-eda’s family drama Still Walking. It’s a film of such intense inner turmoil and drama, but presented in a very honest and unsentimental manner. The tension exists beneath the surface, and arises in moments that are more powerful because of the quiet anticipation that precedes them."

What's next: "I’m in development on two fiction projects that I’ve been waiting to do for a long time. One is about happiness and the other is about Mars. I’m also doing research for a hybrid doc/fiction film about internet culture."

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: Meet the 2013 Tribeca Filmmakers