Hurricane Sandy was a challenge for director Sam Fleischner ("Wah Do Dem" which won Best Dramatic Feature at the 2009 LA Film Festival) both personally and for his latest film. The traumatic storm hit during the filming of Fleischner's second feature, "Stand Clear of the Closing Doors," which takes place in Rockaway Beach, and ended up becoming a part of the film. As the storm comes closer, the film looks at New York City both above and underground as we follow a young autistic boy on a subway excursion and his mother searching for him above.
What it's about: This is a parallel story about an autistic 8th grader who runs away on the subway for 10-days, and his undocumented mother who searches for him. During this dramatic time, the mother forms a new relationship with the beach, makes friends with a shopkeeper who knows her son, comes to better understand her daughter, and forgive her absent husband.
About the filmmaker: I grew up in Providence RI and now live in Rockaway Beach NY. I love making movies and building things out of wood. There are lots of similarities between the two.
What else do you want audiences to know about your film? Against the advice of many, I cast a kid on the autism spectrum. He did such a great job! Also, a lot of people ask about permits for shooting on the train. You don't need one as long as you're hand held and not getting in the way. I guess the latter part is relative, but people were really cool for the most part, and excited to participate.
What was your biggest challenge in developing this project? I would say fundraising, and casting were the toughest parts of development. Then once we were shooting, the train proved to be a pretty damn near impossible place to shoot. And then hurricane Sandy was a major challenge.
What would you like Tribeca audiences to come away with after seeing your film? The importance of paying attention to each other.
Did any specific films inspire you? Ivan's Childhood, Kes, Kid With a Bike, L'enfance Nue, Little Fugitive, M, Walkabout, Alice in the Cities, 400 Blows, Wizard of Oz, Sway.
What do you have in the works? Re-building my home in Rockaway. Perhaps a romcom.
Indiewire invited Tribeca 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 2013 festival.
Keep checking HERE every day up to the launch of the festival on April 17 for the latest profiles.