Cutter Hodierne won the award for best director at the 2014 Sundance Film Festival for his feature-length film "Fishing Without Nets," a foreign-language film with subtitles. He is the second-youngest director to win this award.
"I have wanted to make movies for as long as I can remember," Hodierne, 27, said. Cutter's father, University of Richmond journalism professor Robert Hodierne said, "When he was 12, we got him a camcorder and he started putting movies together on his iMac."
Robert recalled Sept. 11, 2001, when his family was living in Arlington, Va. "Cutter was 15 at the time, and when his mother and I got home he wasn't there," he said. "Cutter had walked to the Pentagon with his camera because he wanted to be where the action was."
In 1987, when Cutter was 1, his parents sailed to the South Pacific on their boat. After staying there for a few years, they sailed to Japan and lived there for two years.
"Living in so many different places made Cutter comfortable with being a minority," his father said.
Cutter's film career began when he started making music videos with his second cousin, who is a well-established filmmaker, Robert said. Cutter traveled with him to the Caribbean to help shoot a video, and the band hired Cutter to shoot another one for them when he was 19.
"The music video played on MTV, and this led him to other gigs in the Washington area," Robert said.
Cutter worked as a filmmaker on the road with U2, touring Europe and North America with the band's 360* tour.
"They paid him well, but being on tour with a rock and roll band was not too interesting," Cutter's father said. "Cutter used the money that he made from the tour to travel to Kenya with his co-producers John Hibey and Raphael Swann, who were high school classmates of Cutter's, to get a feel for the land."
"We had informal casting sessions and met a man who introduced us to people in the Somali community," Cutter said, adding that he had a translator to help him communicate. "Sometimes we saw people on the streets that we liked and auditioned them. Most of the pirates were played by Somali refugees."
Cutter submitted his short film "Fishing Without Nets" to the Cannes Film Festival, where it was rejected. He re-cut the film and in 2012, he submitted it to Sundance, where it was awarded the Grand Jury Prize in Short Filmmaking (the top award for short films).
"After this, Cutter developed an ongoing relationship with Sundance, and he got the financing to do a feature-length film where he used the same cast," Robert said.
Cutter won the Directing Award in the U.S. Dramatic Competition at Sundance Jan. 25, 2014.
"Cutter and his crew had a dirt-cheap budget, yet made a film that looks very expensive," Robert said. "It is a beautifully shot film."
Cutter is currently in Los Angeles but has "no fixed address," his father said. He is working on trying to sell the feature-length version of "Fishing Without Nets." He is also in the process of developing other projects of his own, and has people interested in pursuing him for their projects.
"I am proud that Cutter is a gentle soul," his father said. "He is a kind young man and is very creative and modest."
Moments after he won the award at Sundance, Cutter turned to his father and said, "I don't think I'm going to be unemployed anymore."
Contact reporter Mary Rossiter at firstname.lastname@example.org