Candyman Film coming to town
Candyman, the incredible true story of how David Klein created Jelly Belly jelly beans has been selected to premiere at the Slamdance film festival in Park city Utah in January 2010.
Candyman, directed by Costa Botes, tells the amazing true story of David Klein, an eccentric candy inventor from LA, who in 1976 had a once in a lifetime epiphany and came up with the concept of Jelly Belly jellybeans. These colourful beans came in numerous shockingly realistic flavours and were a radical new product. They became a pop culture phenomenon and revolutionised the candy industry. Former US president Ronald Reagen proclaimed Jelly Bellies as his favorite sweets. David’s eccentric personality and peculiar sense of business led him to give up the business just as it was about to explode. The movie is all about both sides of the American dream. It tells how Klein lost his beans, but kept his soul.
Costa Botes is a renowned director, writer and cinematographer from New Zealand. He co-wrote and co-directed Forgotten Silver with Oscar winning director Peter Jackson. The documentary was proclaimed by Guinness World Records as the greatest film hoax in history.
The film s producers Bert and Jennifer Klein have worked extensively in feature animation, independent movies, storyboarding and animating for studios such as Disney (Emperor’s New Groove) and Warner Bros (The Iron Giant) and have garnered many awards.
Film Industry Network discovers the journey of the man behind one of the most exciting candy inventions of a generation and how the film came to be.
In conversation with the cast and crew from Candyman
Producer Bert Klein
How did this journey start for you?
It started in 1976(I was barely 2 years old) when my dad started Jelly Belly. I have faint memories of those exciting times.
I was not quite 6 in 1980 when my dad prematurely sold out to the company that currently owns Jelly Belly. Even though I was quite young, I remember the change in my dad after the sale. I grew up wondering what happened and why my dad was unhappy. This film was partly an exploration for answers.
What have you learned from this production experience?
I learned that if you collaborate with a great director and let them do their job, you will get a great movie. I also learned that I couldn’t have begun to dig deep into a personally emotional project like this until I was ready. Having kids did that for me. The film is not only about my dad and his invention of jelly bellies, but it is also about how the product strained our relationship. The process of putting this together brought us much closer.
Why does this story need to be told?
My dad is a forgotten genius who made a huge impact on others. His story is fascinating and cautionary. I feel that many people who have experienced material loss can relate to this story. I needed this story to be told because my dad deserved a long overdue recognition for his accomplishments. I also needed to make this film to put the past to rest and make peace with my dad. Ultimately I want my kids to know the truth about my dad’s life.
Director Costa Botes
How did you become part of this project?
I was friends with Jennifer and Bert long before we ever knew we might do a movie together. They were familiar with the kind of wry, low key observational style I favour in documentary work. Maybe that was filed away in their minds. I was aware that Bert’s dad had something to do with the genesis of Jelly Belly jellybeans, but Bert seemed reluctant to expand on this subject so I didn’t ask any further. It was therefore still a subject of some curiosity when a few years later Bert contacted me via email and suggested I take a look at David’s new blog.
It only took me a few minutes to ascertain that here was a very viable subject for a cinematic documentary. I responded very quickly, saying something like, “we should make a movie about this guy!”, and they agreed. It was only later, after I’d started shooting, that I found out that Jen and Bert had ingeniously set me up; they knew I would not be able to resist this story, and they were right!
Bert’s attitude about his Dad and family history had changed. He had come to understand that Dave is a significant figure in candy history, and that what he’d been through would make for a very interesting film.
The most interesting thing for me was making the movie literally on the run, discovering the story as I was filming. I had only the haziest outline in mind to begin with. I just trusted my instincts that David was a fascinating enough character to carry a movie.
Forgotten Silver was a one of a kind film. What is the magic behind Candyman?
Any movie is only as good as its subject. I like dramatic subjects, with strong, one of a-kind protagonists who are really up against it. Forgotten Silver had that, and so does Candyman. The difference is that David Klein’s story is all true.
What are your future projects?
I am developing a feature film about the first man to fly (a New Zealander named Richard Pearse, who flew nine months before the Wright Brothers). I’m currently shooting a new documentary about a man who has discovered he is going crazy, and his very unusual marriage to a woman who has stuck with him through thick and thin. I’m also planning another documentary about a man who is waging a lonely battle to protect and preserve the last of the Canadian Arctic dogs. You can see there is a bit of a pattern there!
The Candyman David Klein
How did you get involved in the film, and what did you find rewarding?
I believe that the documentary was a chance for me to review my thirty five years in the candy business and to see what my business friends thought about me….Almost as if you are hearing your own eulogy at your funeral. It is also something that is for the ages and my grandchildren and their children will be able to view this long after I am gone.
Would you have any advice for those wishing to pursue the American dream ?
As a matter of fact I do. First of all just about everyone thought Jelly Belly was a stupid idea. If you believe in your idea believe in it with all your heart. Do not listen to negative thoughts. Stay focused and do not let anything get in your way. I had $800.00 to my name when I started Jelly Belly. Money makes it much easier but there are ways to get things done if you are creative.
One of my mistakes was that I did not investigate other candy makers when I started…I went with the first company I talked to. They told me that they could handle any order I sent them. This later proved to be false. I did not realize how small of a company they were when I first talked to them….
Another piece of advice is to realize that there is nothing better than free publicity. People believe what they read. The press needs things to write about. So it is a two-sided relationship that benefits both parties. When I started Jelly Belly I was doing twenty to thirty dollars a day in business. If it had not been for the publicity the product would have died..
Another piece of advice is to file both a state and federal trademark for your product.. After following the advice of a trademark attorney we only filled for a federal trademark. One of my distributors found out that we had not filled for a state trademark and did so for himself…I received a call from him one day and he told me that he was my “new” partner. Thank you – David Klein.
To find out more about the film: http://www.candymanfilm.com
Slamdance Film Festival runs from the 21-28th January 2010