The director of "LUV" (playing in the US Dramatic competition), Sheldon Candis, describes his film as "'Training Day' from an 11-year-old boy's point of view intersected with his loss of innocence."
What's it about? Every boy searches for a father figure... not every boy finds the right one...
Says director Sheldon Candis: "For me, movies molded me as a child. My dad would faithfully take my mom and I to the movies on Sundays. Also, when my mom wasn't around, he would show me R rated movies when I was 9-years-old. 'Purple Rain' and 'The Fly' altered me early. That world on the screen was one that I wanted to be a part of, no matter how dark or heartbreaking the story! Also, my grandfather had a serious VHS collection in the 80s. I was always in front of his Sears wooden floor model TV, watching 'Star Wars,' 'Indiana Jones,' 'Back to the Future,' 'Rocky,' and 'The Karate Kid.'
"It was very challenging shooting a movie in a short shooting schedule with a child actor as the lead. We had a very tough casting process in L.A. and various cities. We were just weeks away from shooting and still without a kid. My final casting session in New York was heartbreaking, I still didn’t find Woody. Sean Banks, our co-producer calls and says, 'I found your kid…' Michael Rainey Jr. emotes a genuine truth and vulnerability. It's unfair a 10-year-old kid has that much depth. Michael is wise beyond his years. An old soul.
"I always say - hear a thousand 'No’s' for that one 'Yes'. My producers Jason Michael Berman, W. Michael Jenson, Gordon Bijelonic, Datari Turner, Joel Newton, Derek Dudley, and Executive Producers Tom Fore, Michael Finley, Dwayne Robinson, Sandra R. Berman, and Mark G. Mathis sacrificed a lot to get this movie made and believed in me as a first time filmmaker. "
Indiewire invited Sundance Film Festival directors to tell us about their films, including what inspired them, the challenges they faced and what they're doing next. We'll be publishing their responses leading up to the 2012 festival.
Keep checking here every day up to the launch for the latest profiles.