Peter Sollett’s Raising Victor Vargas screened at the Sundance Film Festival on this day in 2003. Based on the writer-directorâ€™s short film, Five Feet High and Rising, his feature chronicled the efforts of a young Dominican teen finding his place within his family, his Lower East Side community and the world. After Victor is caught in the bedroom of an overweight neighborhood girl, he tries to reestablish his reputation and regain trust inside the walls of his grandmotherâ€™s restrictive household. Sollett developed the screenplay through the Sundance Screenwriterâ€™s Lab and first saw it released at Cannes in May 2002. The film went on to nab five Independent Spirit Award nominations but unfortunately was never widely released in the U.S.
Film Factoid: Moviemaker Sollett has made only two films so far in his career. Right out of the gate Five Feet High and Rising won big at both Cannes and Sundance in 2000. Like their director, this was the first time most of the actors had worked on a film. Victor Rasuk, who played the title character in both Sollett films, has since moved on to significant supporting roles in Lords of Dogtown and Iâ€™m Reed Fish.