Where are you from?
I am from New Jersey.
Do you consider yourself to be a Jersey girl?
Sure. I went to the Jersey Shore every summer and spent a lot of the time at the mall. All of those things are completely fair assessments of my formative years. Both my parents have Jersey accents; I don’t know why mine fell by the wayside.
Are you a Sundance virgin?
I am not. I have been to Sundance three times: First in 2009 for a short film called Knife Point. Then, in 2012, I went for a movie called The Comedy and also that same year for VHS, a horror anthology. And in 2014, I had a small role in Listen Up Philip, but I wanted to go and support the director, who is an old friend.
So how does it feel to be a Sundance sensation in 2016?
It is a flattering title to have bestowed upon me. I can’t honestly say that I am comfortable with that label, though” I guess it’s hard for me to find a connection to the word sensation. But it is lovely and I”ll take it.
What’s the buzz about your movie?
Interestingly, our film is one of two playing at Sundance that is about Christine Chubbuck. There is a narrative film about her as well. My film is a documentary/narrative hybrid. There hasn’t been much exploration into Christine’s story since the mid-seventies, so the fact that there are two movies about this woman coming out in 2016 is notable. The film blurs the line between documentary and fiction. I am acting throughout the entire film; I play myself preparing to play the role of Christine. She was a news anchor in Sarasota, Florida, who committed suicide live on air in 1974: She shot herself in the head. Network was loosely based on her. Our movie focuses on the fact that so few people are familiar with her story, and yet there is this wildly popular film that essentially drew on her story.
How would you describe your character in one sentence?
On the one hand, I could say I am playing a version of myself. But I could also say my character is someone who is searching and beginning to find the search for meaning in her life to be futile.
I have to assume that you relate to your character.
Her frustration and her desire to be seen and heard is something that is imminently relatable. Also, her position as a woman trying to get ahead in a male-dominated workplace.
What was your first acting experience?
It was a play that I did in the fourth grade. We were learning about Greek mythology and it was sort of a mash-up of a lot of different stories. I played Medea as a 9-year-old girl. That was pretty fun.
Describe your ideal Sundance selfie.
I would go for a fun selfie, probably just looking down Main Street. I don’t take myself too seriously.
What is your favorite Robert Redford film?
All the President’s Men. I just love that story. I also like procedural things: People walking quickly down hallways and throwing folders on desks and typing furiously. I enjoy Redford’s presence he simultaneously seems like a movie star but also slips into a very human, believable character.
Instagram + Twitter : @KateLynSheil