200 films set to unspool at America's leading showcase for independent
film, a Hermosa man's movie of camaraderie, American Indian tribes
and the people of Utah will open the festival.
Eyre's "Edge of America" will premiere as Sundance Film
Festival's opening night's film and centerpiece on Friday, Jan.
on the silver screen in a 1,700-seat Salt Lake City theater, Eyre
will watch his most recent work with media representatives, critics
and celebrities as well as Utah's Gov. Olene S. Walker, Salt Lake
City Mayor Ross C. Anderson and festival founder Robert Redford.
by Eyre, 34, and written by Willy Holtzman, the 106-minute film
stars James McDaniel, Irene Bedard, Tim Daly and Wes Studi. The
film festival runs Jan. 15-25.
his sixth project released at Sundance, Eyre's film unfolds as a
black English teacher grudgingly accepts the task of coaching an
Indian girls basketball team on the Three Nations Reservation. While
the girls learn the basics of the court, the coach learns from the
team and the girls' tribe as well.
a perfect fit," Eyre said.
whose film "Smoke Signals" shot the then-27-year-old Southern
Cheyenne-Arapaho director into the movie mainstream, said "Edge
of America" represents the kind of moviemaking that embraces
themes he cares about and is filled with characters that he loves.
It is as close in tone and style to the Sundance Film Festival award-winning
"Smoke Signals" as any movie that he has made since.
the everyday people," he said.
what people live each day, their grace, their humor, their compassion,
it all leads to real heroes, he said.
McDaniel) ends up coaching a girls basketball team, but what he
learns from the girls and what he gets from the community is what's
interesting," Eyre said. "But it's a two-way street."
to the Dec. 26 issue of Entertainment Weekly, "Edge of America"
is one of more than 200 films to be featured at the festival. Organizers
selected Eyre's film from an avalanche of nearly 6,000 films submitted
for this year's festival of movies and documentaries. After the
Jan. 16 premiere, "Edge of America" will be screened another
six times in a variety of venues in Salt Lake City and Park City,
want as many people to see the movie as possible," Eyre said.
Oregon native considers himself a lifelong filmmaker. A creative
and inventive natural storyteller, Eyre envisioned his movies long
before he found himself at the Sundance Institute and Film Labs
called myself a director long before I had the work to show for
it," he said. "I've only been paid as a director in the
last six years."
1998, when Eyre won Sundance's Audience Award and Filmmakers Trophy,
his goal has been to put Indian people onscreen, to cultivate characters
who are true to the Native people who inspire those characterizations
and develop movies based on authentic stories of compassion, humor
and a wealth of spirit.
vision is to see Indian people in television and film in wonderful
roles of humanity and normalcy," he said.
would include his work with the Public Broadcasting "Mystery"
series of Tony Hillerman thrillers that feature Wes Studi and Adam
Beach as Joe Leaphorn and Jim Chee, respectively.
was hired by Redford to direct "Skinwalkers," the first
American installment of the "Mystery" series. His next
directorial turn includes "A Thief of Time," the third
segment in the series. It is scheduled to be released in the coming
if he is a favorite of Redford's, Eyre's won't say. But he points
out that Redford has hired him to make two movies. Each time Eyre
has worked for Redford, he has learned something from the founder
of the Sundance Film Festival.
a true artist," Eyre said.