David Garrett Byars is a former financial analyst who left his job in 2008 to pursue his, then nebulous, dreams. He is now a filmmaker living in Telluride, Colorado. Byars’ focuses on feature-length documentaries, but he also creates branded pieces as a freelance filmmaker. As part of Reel Thing Productions, he released the feature-length documentary Uranium Drive-In (Mountainfilm 2013). In 2013, he wrote and directed his first narrative short, Self Storage, which is a quirky dark comedy that follows a worker at a self-storage facility as he struggles to pay off the medical debt stemming from his unlucky brew of common cleaning agents. The result is a delicious brew of its own, filled with black humor, endearing characters, and smart storytelling. Byars coins it as “a story of conscience, existential dread and redemption.” Byars is the director of No Man's Land (Mountainfilm 2017), the incredibly candid film that follows the once-occupiers of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge.
Favorite childhood movie?
Karate Kid 2
Ghosts or aliens?
Aliens, always aliens.
Objectivity? Is it a thing?
No such thing. In practice or in concept. Impossible to separate our minds from the sum of our experiences.
Financial analyst to filmmaker? connection?
Glutton for punishment, high tolerance for rejection, and boyish good looks. And attention to detail. More generally, in finance and in film, you're really just trying to sell a good story.
Werner Herzog, Wes Anderson, Suzan Beraza.
Best advice you've received? Given?
Received: Understand people's problems rather than scrutinize their solutions.
Given: Always be yourself, unless you can be Batman.
Who would play you in a film?
Fat David Spade or the lovechild of Zach Galifianakis and Matt McConaughey. Or Uncle Traveling Matt from Fraggle Rock. Shit, tough question.
What's so great about Telluride?
The self-celebratory atmosphere. ;) In all seriousness - the potential for active collaboration. Everyone in the arts in Telluride is so down to put in a tremendous amount of time and work into a collaborative effort. And it's world-class high-quality work.
More movies! So many movies. A few feature docs in the works and a whole slew of ill-advised and costly fiction endeavors.