I really enjoyed, and was even inspired by, Anthony Kaufman’s recent Village Voice profile of prolific indie producer Paul Mezey. Mezey has an impressive list of credits, including two of the most beloved Sundance 2008 features: Sugar and Momma’s Man. He also produced what I consider one of the most underrated American indies of the last 10 years, David Riker’s La Ciudad, which happened to win the SXSW Narrative Jury prize in 1999. I can’t wait to see Mezey’s upcoming films, and you can count me in as a big big fan of Momma’s Man. The most interesting/exciting thing? Mezey doesn’t live in New York or L.A. From Kaufman’s article:
The slow road to success—rather than an overnight Weinsteinian bidding war—is the usual route for the likeminded, socially conscious filmmakers that Mezey has emboldened over the years, many of whom happen to hail from Brooklyn: Boden and Fleck (Half Nelson), Jim McKay (Our Song), Joshua Marston (Maria Full of Grace), as well as the Wisconsin-based Chris Smith (American Movie) and David Riker (La Ciudad), who lives in Mexico.
“We’re like a little mini-studio,” says the soft-spoken Mezey, 41, who is actually based in Pennsylvania (“I would have sunk long ago if I had to raise a family in New York,” he says).
When we spoke, Mezey was days away from heading to Russia for a new project called Cold Souls, directed by first-timer Sophie Barthes. Her husband Andrij Parekh was the cinematographer on Half Nelson and Sugar, and Cold Souls shares much of the same crews as those films—all working for little money, but sharing the same passion, says Mezey. “We have an innocent infatuation with the process, and it’s much less about personal ego and much more about the collaborative work.”