Documentary Filmmaker Sam Rega '04 Releases Film on Netflix
Jimmy Geurts - Herald Tribune
“Spelling the Dream” follows Indian-American students competing to win the Scripps National Spelling Bee.
As Netflix grows even more popular while people stay home in the social distancing era, one of the streaming service’s new releases in the following months comes from one of Sarasota-Manatee’s own.
“Spelling the Dream,” directed by Sarasota-raised filmmaker Sam Rega, will be released May 23 on Netflix. The documentary follows four Indian-American students as they compete to win the Scripps National Spelling Bee.
In an email to the Herald-Tribune, Rega said he’s glad that after the years-long process of making the film, it’ll soon be available on Netflix in more than 190 countries.
“It’s the perfect ending to the film’s journey,” Rega said. “We are thankful to have had the opportunity and support from our producers and Netflix to bring our vision to life and tell the story how we wanted to. We hope viewers will be as immersed in this story as we have become and fall in love with our spellers.”
The documentary also follows the Indian-American community’s overall relationship with the spelling bee, with an Indian-American student winning the tournament for the past 12 years straight. It features interviews with CNN personalities Sanjay Gupta and Fareed Zakaria, comedian Hari Kondabolu, ESPN anchor Kevin Negandhi, 1999 Scripps National Spelling Bee winner Nupur Lala and others.
Now living in New York City, Rega graduated in 2004 from Sarasota’s The Out-of-Door Academy and would take any opportunity a teacher gave to make movies for school projects, filming historical reenactments on Longboat Key and Siesta Key. He also saw movies with his family at Sarasota Film Festival and interned at the festival as a high school senior.
“I can look back on my upbringing in Sarasota and see the impact that it had on myself as a filmmaker,” Rega said.