Few directors have had greater success exposing the harsh realities of American life than Debra Granik. But after a drug abuse-themed first feature, “Down to the Bone,” the Jennifer Lawrence-led poverty saga “Winter’s Bone” and a documentary (“Stray Dog”) and drama (“Leave No Trace”) about haunted military vets, her new multipart doc, “Conbody VS Everybody” might be her most upbeat take on a tough topic to date.
The Jan. 23 Sundance premiere follows former drug kingpin Coss Marte as he launches a fitness business with other ex-cons, based on workouts developed behind bars. While the six-part series has some bleak moments, its hopefulness seems to have rubbed off on Granik. “This film buoyed me a bit during the pandemic and helped me get through it,” she says, “because of the fighting spirit that the team had.”
Her shoot for “Conbody,” two episodes of which bow in Park City, lasted eight years. “I learned that reaching the five-year benchmark of staying out of prison was considered extremely positive statistically: the likelihood of returning becomes very small, so that seemed like a good framework,” Granik says. “What I didn’t realize was that all of the other trainers would join him, and that Coss was going to build them into a family, which changed the probability of his success because it increased their vulnerability as a unit. The stakes multiplied.” She says the resulting doc is like watching mountaineers…
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The post “‘Winter’s Bone’ Director Debra Granik on Doc Series ‘Conbody'” by Carolehorst was published on 01/21/2024 by variety.com