Meet Destin Daniel Cretton, whose Short Term 12, starring Brie Larson, has won the top narrative film prize at this year's SXSW Festival. You can watch a trailer for the 2008 short film version of Short Term 12 above, and a trailer for Cretton's 2012 I Am Not A Hipster is available here.
I was born and raised on the island of Maui, Hawaii, where I spent the first 19 years of my life. I moved to San Diego for school, and after graduating, I spent 2 years working as a line staff in a group home for at-risk teenagers. When I started that job, I was scared out of my mind. I felt completely inadequate to be playing the part of a surrogate parent for the 18 teenagers on our unit, many of who were only a few years younger than me. Every day felt like a war-zone, where one bad decision could potentially bring more harm to a child who already had enough to deal with. To this day, it was the most difficult job I’ve ever had, and an experience that will stick with me for the rest of my life. Short Term 12 is a story that was deeply inspired by the resilient kids and fearless staff members I met during my time there.