WELCOME TO PINE HILL is an extension of Keith Miller’s earlier short film PRINCE/WILLIAM about an unexpected encounter surrounding a lost dog. Blurring the line between documentary and fiction, PINE HILL follows that short’s protagonist Shannon, a reformed drug dealer who is now an insurance claims adjuster, in the days following a grim medical diagnosis. Shannon, portrayed in an extraordinarily intimate performance by first time actor Shannon Harper, sets out to make peace with those around him and in turn find his own peace beyond the cacophony of New York City. Miller joins us for a conversation on his mesmerizing and powerful film on the search for redemption and meaning.
“Shannon Harper never once seems like he is acting. Harper (who had never acted before in his life) essentially pulls off something that most seasoned actors have been trying to do for their entire careers. He never allows the camera (technically, three cameras) to compromise his amazing presence, and his resulting performance is one that I will probably never forget.” – Don Simpson, Smell Like Screen Spirit
“Welcome to Pine Hill” is partly a work of socially aware realism, attentive to how black and white Brooklynites share and contest public space, and to the different selves Shannon assumes with friends, co-workers, strangers and his mother (Mary Meyers). But it is at least equally concerned with the metaphysical dimensions of his experience, and with the haunting philosophical question of how a mortal individual can understand his place in the universe. – A. O. Scott, New York Times