PARK CITY 2000 INTERVIEW: Dramatic Contenders on the Cutting Edge
by Anthony Kaufman/indieWIRE
“Everyone always says that what we really need are risk-takers, what we really need is people to actually make original films, and then they look at them and they don’t appreciate what they are.” — Geoff Gilmore, Co-Director Sundance Film Festival
Ohio-born ex-pat Tony Pemberton brings
What do a former actor who appeared in such films as “Heathers” and “Independence Day,” an African American woman teaching at UCSD, and an Ohio-born ex-pat living in Russia all have in common? They are the answer to Geoff Gilmore’s call. They are the risk takers in this year’s Sundance Dramatic Competition. From as diverse backgrounds as could possibly be imagined, with as different movies as could possibly be made, these three filmmakers are here in Park City screening their first features with a common mantra: break new ground, push the limits, defy convention.
Though Jon Shear, Zeinabu irene Davis, and Tony Pemberton would not all go so far as to call for aesthetic revolution, they are artists of the first degree, making images and ideas that stick to your brain like wallpaper. Whether it’s the downward spiral of a tormented city dweller in Shear’s “Urbania,” the duo of timeless romantic tragedies in Davis’ “Compensation,” or the journey of a woman stranded between a modern trip-hopping Manhattan and the old Russia of her past in Pemberton’s “Beyond the Ocean,” these are the truly original works competing this week in a race that all too often overlooks innovation in favor of the bottom line.
And Jon Shear, for one, dares you to see them