The depth of human character is rarely tested to such an extent as it was, and still is, for Alvaro Llanos and Shawn Simons following the Boland Hall fire nearly 10 years ago. For these two men, overcoming this catastrophe has meant healing on many levels and a reintegrating of themselves into a life they once knew; a life that was set ablaze on January 19, 2000.
The passionate struggle and heroism of these two burn victims has affected many people including film director/producer Guido Verweyen, who has made it his goal to retell their extraordinary story.
Verweyen is a prominent director with a seemingly eclectic résumé, working on shows for NBC and MTV and having a few Emmy awards to his name. When asked about his reasoning behind this newest project, his inspiration could not have been more heartfelt…
How did you get into directing?
I started out as a DP, shooting mostly docs. After one of my documentaries was Oscar nominated in 2001, I began focusing on storytelling. Directing docs led to directing reality shows like America’s Next Top Model, Bachelor and NBC’s Starting Over (which earned me an Emmy in 2005). Now, it seems that commercials are becoming more real and less stylized, and there seems to be a need for directors, like me, to implement a non-fiction approach, combining great visuals with strong storytelling and memorable performances.