Directed, written and produced by Korstiaan Vandiver, the film is also produced by myself (Dwight Wilson II), Kimberly Vandiver & Kevin Kinsey. The project, titled "LU," stars Nate Parker as a PTSD veteran who is haunted by a tragic incident during a fire fight in Iraq, and is based on a true story of real-life war veteran Luigino "Lu" Lubello, who is also a credited producer and writer on the project.
Lubello is a bold advocate for PTSD and as a Caucasian man was brave enough to have his story told by the African American actor.
Luigino said: "I just wanted the right actor to convey my story."
This film in many ways parallels "The Birth of a Nation" movement. This was the first project where Parker felt completely free to express his faith, and the film offered a unique role that is not always afforded an African American actor or director in Vandiver for that matter.
Nate has said that he only did the project because of the faith that he saw in Vandiver and what he felt God was calling him to do. Faith plays a major part in the depicition of the Nat Turner story and Nate professed his Christianity on stage during the premiere of "The Birth of a Nation" which garnered an extended standing ovation and broke the Sundance sales record with a $17.5 million dollar sale to Fox Searchlight.
"LU" was originally written, shot & edited in 2013 for the 168 Film Festival, an international faith-based festival that requires a film be based on a random Bible verse chosen before the competition begins. The filmmakers then have 7 days or 168 hours to complete their project.
"LU" immediately grabbed 12 nominations and took home 4 awards, including, Best Actor for Parker. The grand prize was a whopping $1 million dollar production deal which the team fell short of winning, still ending impressively in the top 3 finalists, out of nearly 200 international submissions.
The film also stars Emayatzy Corinealdi, as well as Omari Hardwick.
Emayatzy said, "I read the script and I was in."
Omari Hardwick, who initially had a larger role, was not in the same town as where filming on the short was taking place, and flew in overnight to make the deadline, and shot his scene in less than 15 minutes.
Korstiaan was able to helm an amazing cast, write, direct, help raise money and location scout in such a short period of time, it was God.
"LU" went on to play an the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences during the the international One Lens Film Fest where only 7 films are chosen to screen from over 300 hundred worldwide submissions. Parker took another Best Actor award and the film would later screen at the BET/HBO Urbanworld Film Festival in New York.
There was also a special screening in Park City in 2014.
The NAACP Hollywood Bureau was so impressed by the film that the considered opening a short film category to honor the project. There was also a write up in the January 2014 issue of the American Cinematographer Magazine for the amazing cinematography by German DP, Kay Madsen. Madsen was also the cinematographer for the Nate Parker-directed short, "#AmeriCAN".
Check out "LU" below. We hope to see more from this group of creative young filmmakers in the near future.