Project Nim, co-produced by Columbia University School of the Arts Film Program Assistant Professor and Director of Production Maureen A. Ryan -- who co-produced the Oscar-winning documentary Man on Wire -- opens July 8 at the Elinor Bunin Monroe Film Center at Lincoln Center and Angelika Film Center in New York.
The documentary, directed by James Marsh (who also directed Man on Wire) traces Nim, the chimpanzee who in the 1970s became the focus of a landmark experiment which aimed to show that an ape could learn to communicate with language if raised and nurtured like a human child. It won the World Cinema Documentary Directing Award at Sundance this year, and was nominated for the Grand Jury Prize at the Miami International Film Festival. Film alumnus Markus Kirschner ('09SOA) is production designer for the film, and alumnus Geoffrey Quan ('08SOA) is production coordinator.
Ryan is an independent producer concentrating on feature films—both documentary and narrative. In addition to co-producing Man on Wire, she is the producer of the narrative feature film Bomber, a bittersweet comedy about family, love, and bombing Germany. Written and directed by Paul Cotter, it premiered at the 2009 SXSW Film Festival and is distributed by Film Movement. Her new book, Producer to Producer: A Step-by-Step Guide to Low Budget Independent Film Producing was published in 2010 by Michael Wiese Publishing and she has a companion website at www.ProducerToProducer.com. Ryan also produced the feature documentary The Gates about the artwork in Central Park by Christo and Jeanne-Claude that was co-directed by Albert Maysles and Antonio Ferrera. It was broadcast on HBO, and received a 2008 Peabody Award. Over the last few years, Ryan produced the short films Red Flag, Torte Bluma and Last Hand Standing. She also produced the feature documentary Wisconsin Death Trip which premiered at the 1999 Telluride Film Festival and was broadcast on the BBC and Cinemax.
Project Nim website
Project Nim Facebook page
New York Times feature on the film, July 3