On February 12, 2008, in Oxnard, California, eighth-grade student Brandon McInerney shot his classmate Larry King twice in the back of the head during first period. When Larry died two days later, his murder shocked the nation. Was this a hate crime, one perpetrated by a budding neo-Nazi whose masculinity was threatened by an effeminate gay kid who may have had a crush on him? Or was there even more to it?
Looking beyond all the copious news coverage of this tragic event, Valentine Road tells the story of two victims: the deceased and the murderer. With keen insight, the film connects the human wreckage of Larry’s and Brandon’s troubled lives—both physically abused, both from broken homes, and both searching for a sense of belonging. Filmmaker Marta Cunningham puts a human face on a critical issue challenging communities everywhere. Namely, how do we help kids like Brandon and Larry before tragedy happens? Haunting, infuriating, and powerful, Valentine Road shakes us to our core as it calls to question our very notion of justice. - D. C.
About the Director
Marta Cunningham was born in northern California and attended San Mateo High School, where she was active in its performing arts program. At the age of 14, she was dancing with the company at the Peninsula Ballet Theatre. At Georgetown University, Cunningham studied English literature and was awarded the prestigious Baker Scholarship. She then moved to Los Angeles and found work as an actress, writer, dancer, and choreographer before focusing on directing and producing. Valentine Road is her first film.
Cast and Credits
Director: Marta Cunningham
Executive Producers: Jon Murray, Gil Goldschein
Producers: Sasha Alpert, Eddie Schmidt, Marta Cunningham
THE SUNDANCE FILM FESTIVAL IS ONE PROGRAM OF SUNDANCE INSTITUTE, A NONPROFIT ORGANIZATION THAT
DISCOVERS AND SUPPORTS INDEPENDENT FILM AND THEATRE ARTISTS FROM THE U.S. AND AROUND THE WORD
AND INTRODUCES AUDIENCES TO THEIR NEW WORK.