Writer/directors Tyler Nilson
and Michael Schwartz are among the nominees for the DGA
’s Outstanding First-Time Feature Film Director for 2019. The honor came after an unbelievable year for the partners, as they not only delivered their little movie that could, “The Peanut Butter Falcon
,” which scored raves and the Narrative Spotlight Audience Award at SXSW, but landed a distribution deal with Roadside Attractions
, which took them to over $20 million at the domestic box office. That doesn’t happen much anymore.
How did Nilson and Schwartz pull off this rare feat? Like many breakouts, the short filmmakers listened to their own intuition, crafted a unique story that touched them, and found gifted producers to back them.
Eight years ago in 2011, they met a young actor with Down syndrome, Zack Gottsagen
, at a Venice camp for actors with disabilities. “We were enamored by him as a human being,” said Nilson in a telephone interview.