Bryan Gunnar Cole makes a striking debut with Day Zero, crafting an all-too-believable American future in which the draft has been reinstated to fight the war on terror. With the help of screenwriter Rob Malkani, Cole ably speaks for a generation grappling with the global discord that affects their everyday lives. The nation's conflicting, and conflicted, attitudes toward war are examined through the eyes of three friends who have been given induction notices and just 30 days to report for duty. Feeling utterly unprepared but convinced that he must serve, novelist Aaron (Elijah Wood) embarks on a panic-stricken quest to prepare for the life of a soldier-enlisting the questionable help of a collapsing Bowflex machine and a hilariously disengaged therapist (Ally Sheedy). Corporate attorney George (Chris Klein) wishes to stay with his wife (Ginnifer Goodwin), a recent cancer survivor, rather than fight in a war that he believes is wrong, but avoiding service does not prove easy. Cabdriver Dixon (Jay Bernthal) is the most fearless and free of doubt, but he falls in love with a sociology student (Elisabeth Moss), and suddenly issues that always seemed black-and-white to him are not so simple. As reporting day, or day zero, draws nearer, the three friends, who could find mutual friendship only in a city like New York, fight, fall out, come together and comfort each other-as each in his own way discovers what it means to serve with honor. Though set in an imagined world, the film reflects how many young adults deal with war today. With a remarkable cast that handles the material perfectly, Day Zero is as much about the current political climate as it is about the relationships of the characters it follows.
BRYAN GUNNAR COLE began his career in Seattle, Washington, where he cofounded Annex Theatre, a stage company dedicated to producing new works by emerging theatre artists. He then received his M.F.A. from New York University's Kanbar Institute of Film and Television, where he earned five Craft awards, two Warner Bros. Production Awards, the Martin Scorsese Award and the Maurice Kanbar Award for directing. In addition, his thesis film, Trim, won a 1997 Wasserman Award, NYU's top filmmaking prize. As a film editor, Cole has worked on award-winning documentary films such as Another Road Home, Arctic Son and The Sunshine. As a documentary film- maker, he has made three films for National Geographic, including the award-winning Search for the First Dog. His first feature documentary, Boomtown, premiered nationally on the PBS independent documentary showcase POV. Day Zero is his first narrative feature.