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Meet the 2015 Tribeca Filmmakers #49 : David Gelb Races to the Finish Line With Ford Mustang Doc ‘A Faster Horse’

Meet the 2015 Tribeca Filmmakers #49 : David Gelb Races to the Finish Line With Ford Mustang Doc 'A Faster Horse'

READ MORE: Meet the 2015 Tribeca Film Festival Filmmakers

Before he brings us Netflix’s first original documentary series, David Gelb tells the story of the Chief Program Engineer Dave Pericak, who is in charge of redesigning the Ford Mustang approaching its 50th anniversary. What is it like for the jobs and expectations of thousands to rest solely on the shoulders of one man?

What’s your film about in 140 characters or less?

As the fiftieth anniversary of the Mustang approaches, Ford is launching a redesign, placing the jobs and expectations of thousands squarely on the shoulders of Chief Program Engineer Dave Pericak. Directed by David Gelb (“Jiro Dreams of Sushi”), “A Faster Horse” moves beyond a car lover’s documentary to a resonant examination of American ingenuity, workmanship, and resilience.

Now what’s it REALLY about?

This is really a film about making decisions under pressure, leading a massive team, and how a product can become legendary.

Tell us briefly about yourself.

I’m originally from New York but have lived in Los Angeles since I went to film school at USC 12 years ago.

Biggest challenge in completing this film?

The story of the Mustang is huge. 9,000,000 cars produced over 50 years with thousands of fan clubs all over the world. The hardest part was figuring out the entry point to the story for the audience. Lee Iacocca, who willed the original Mustang into existence, is a true visionary and a fascinating character. And Dave Pericak, the chief engineer of the 2015 Mustang, has the weight of that legacy on his shoulders. The answer was to tell the story through these characters.What do you want the Tribeca audience to take away from your film?

Any films inspire you?

I’m inspired by lots of films. In documentary particularly, I love “The Fog of War” and “Baraka.” Those films are big influences, and there are many more.

What’s next?

My series “Chef’s Table” that will be released by Netflix in the spring. Six hour long documentaries on some of the most interesting and ambitious chefs in the world shot in the style of “Jiro Dreams of Sushi.”

What cameras did you shoot on?

Red Dragon, the occasional Canon DSLR and a handful of go pros.

Did you crowdfund?
If so, via what platform. If not, why?

No, we were fortunate enough to not have to.

Did you go to film school? If so, which one? 

USC Film School. Actually, so did the cinematographer Will Basanta, the editor Isaac Hagy, and one of our field producers Clay Jeter. We all met in classes we had together at least 10 years ago!

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 2015 festival. For profiles go HERE.

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