Until a few days ago, “Don’t You Forget About Me” was just another Canuck feature documentary with no distributor and an uncertain future.
But that changed Thursday, with the death of its subject — John Hughes.
When Toronto helmer Matt Austin-Sadowski woke up Friday morning, the first email in his inbox was from CNN requesting an interview. By noon, world rights to the low-budget doc had been snapped up by Alliance Films of Montreal with a U.S. deal in the offing.
The doc looks at the life and work of the filmmaker behind teen hits “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off,” “The Breakfast Club” and “Sixteen Candles.”
But “Don’t You Forget About Me” — a nod to the Simple Minds pop song featured in “The Breakfast Club” — is hardly a standard biopic.
Rather it’s a 75-minute, “Roger and Me”-like road trip in which Austin-Sadowski and his producers Kari Hollend, Mike Facciolo and Lenny Panzer head to suburban Illinois in their van to try to find the reclusive Hughes.
It was made without public funding, something extremely rare in Canadian cinema.
Austin-Sadowski, an actor best known for his role in the “Power Rangers: S.P.D.” TV series, is thrilled his film is getting so much attention, but it’s a bittersweet feeling given it took Hughes’ death to spark the interest.
Austin-Sadowski, 31, said Hughes’ films had a huge impact on him when he was in high school.
“He inspired me as a person, going through an awkward adolescence, as many people do,” Austin-Sadowski said. “He took affairs of the heart very seriously, and no other director gave teenagers that sort of treatment at that time.”
Thesps interviewed in the doc include Ally Sheedy, Judd Nelson, Mia Sara, Kelly LeBrock and Andrew McCarthy. Molly Ringwald, perhaps the actress most associated with Hughes’ hits, refused to take part in the project.
Austin-Sadowski said he hopes the buzz translates into renewed interest in Hughes’ films. “That’s what’s important to us. It’s not the deal. It’s not more exposure for us.”