The Faces of Sundance: James Marsh on Project Nim


In 2008, filmmaker James Marsh was at Sundance with Man on Wire, a doc about high-wire artist Philippe Petit that premiered to raves at the festival before going on to win an Oscar one year later.

Now he’s back with Project Nim, a film that follows the life of a chimpanzee that took part in an experiment during the ’70s to see if an ape could be raised as a human. Taken at birth from his mother, Nim was sent to live for the first few years of his life with a family on New York’s Upper West Side as he’s taught sign language to allow him to communicate. The experiment doesn’t really go as planned, but Nim has a huge impact on the humans he encounters on his journey, making Marsh’s latest film just as fascinating and moving as Man on Wire.

Earlier this week, spoke with Marsh about his latest documentary as well as some of his upcoming plans including a documentary about the nature of dreams.

Project Nim was picked up by HBO Documentary at the start of the festival and will get a theatrical release by Roadside Attractions.