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Meet the 2013 Tribeca Filmmakers #37: Eric Steel Tells the Magical Dream Story of Fishing Fly Artisan in ‘Kiss the Water’

Meet the 2013 Tribeca Filmmakers #37: Eric Steel Tells the Magical Dream Story of Fishing Fly Artisan in 'Kiss the Water'

A former executive for Disney and Scott Rudin, Eric Steel decided he wanted to make movies instead of sit behind a desk. While he’s produced films such as “Bringing Out the Dead” and “Julie and Julia” and made his directorial debut with “The Bridge,” Steel brings us his first documentary feature with “Kiss the Water.” Through both animation and documentary the film tells the story of internationally renowned fishing fly-maker Megan Boyd from the highlands of Scotland.

What it’s about: It’s at once a documentary and a dream — about a woman I knew only from
her obituary. She lived in a cottage all alone, spinning fishing flies
that were magical and deadly.

About the filmmaker: I worked for many years as an executive — at Disney, then at Cinecom,
and then for Scott Rudin. I told people I made movies, but mostly I
sat behind a desk and talked about making movies. It wasn’t until I
went to San Francisco to make “The Bridge” in 2004 that I began to
understand what being a filmmaker entailed — and how much I loved it.
It changed my life — and I hope I can spend the rest of my life devoted
to the art form.

What else do you want audiences to know about your film? 

There is a love story at the heart of “Kiss the Water.” Fly fishing is
like calligraphy; fly tying is like spinning straw into gold; and
Scotland is almost more beautiful than you can imagine.

What was your biggest challenge in developing this project? Finding the right animator — an artist who understood that what the
film called for was not illustration or cartoon re-enactment, but a
special kind of cinematic reconstruction of a woman’s dream life.

What would you like Tribeca audiences to come away with after seeing your film? I don’t really like the idea of telling people what to think about my
movie — I’d rather they leave the theater with a feeling they try to
resolve in their minds for a while rather than an answer that they
discard with their box of popcorn.

Did any specific films inspire you? “Pan’s Labyrinth,” “A River Runs Through It”… and there is a scene in “Places in the Heart” where John Malkovich, playing a blind man, is making
a broom…

What do you have in the works? My first narrative feature — about an artist, his late years, loves and work.

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.

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