Joshua Sanchez grew up in a conservative, southern Baptist home in Texas near the Mexican border. Being gay, he rebelled with punk rock and skateboarding. He later moved to New York and attended film school at Columbia University.
“I started making movies because I loved movies as a kid,” says Sanchez. “I had insomnia as a child, so I would watch the late, late movie on television and saw ‘Midnight Cowboy’ like that. That film affected me so much that I became a movie junkie and studied it a bit in college.
“The best feeling I can think of is sitting in a dark movie theater watching a film that is echoing back to me something that I feel or have felt inside. Cinema can be a powerful vehicle to bear witness to our times and to our society. I wanted to be a part of that.”
What it’s about: A steamy July 4th night brings four people together in two tales of seduction and conflicted desire. Joe is a black, middle-aged, married man out on an Internet date with June, a white teenage boy. Abigayle is Joe’s precocious daughter, out herself with a hot, wisecracking, Latino basketball player named Dexter. As the two couples get to know each other intimately, their realities are tested, and the outcome is bracing. Based on the play by Pulitzer Prize finalist and Obie-winning playwright Christopher Shinn, “Four” stars Wendell Pierce, acclaimed for his roles in the HBO series “The Wire” and “Treme” and Emory Cohen from NBC’s “Smash.
Director Sanchez says: “The film has incredible performances that are going to blow people away. If you like movies that use world-class actors playing characters that are contradictory and challenging, you’ll like this film.”
On the challenges: “‘Four’ took over five years to make, and went through many fits and starts before it took off. I nearly quit many times while trying to get it off the ground. I would say that having to exercise the patience and perseverance to keep going over half a decade was the biggest challenge in making the film.”
What would you like LAFF audiences to come away with after seeing your film? “I would like the audience to feel like the film has spoken to an aspect of their own inner lives that they can relate to. It might not be an exact identification with the circumstances of the characters in ‘Four’ that they relate to, but maybe the fact that we all carry secrets with us. It’s how we deal with and confront these hidden parts of ourselves (or how we don’t) that makes the difference.
“I would like to begin building an audience for ‘Four’ at LAFF. I think this film is a movie that will spread by word of mouth. I’m hoping that LAFF will be a great launching pad for the run of our film and help us establish ‘Four’ as a movie to see.”
On the film’s inspirations: “The two main movies that inspired me during ‘Four’ were John Cassavetes’ ‘Faces’ and Larry Clark’s ‘Kids.’ Both are movies that take place over the course of a night or a day and feature four main characters. There is something about a structure like this that lends itself to the close up, which we use a lot in ‘Four.’ It’s the immediacy of feeling like you’re in the character’s shoes, I think.”
Future projects: “As strange as it may sound, I’m working on a trilogy of feature films about a family set in my home state of Texas. I also have another adaptation of a novel from the 1930s that I’m working on adapting to the screen. That’s vague, but it’s about all I can say right now.”