Sheldon Candis: A Challenging Voice

“As a filmmaker, what I want to do is tell stories that shine light on dark areas that people might not be aware of… I also write from a place of pain. That’s how I am able to deal with the things that I experienced as a child or even the present day; social injustices that I may experience as a brown man in America… And that’s just a big part of what art is; it’s expression.” – Sheldon Candis

I met Sheldon Candis post having brought his feature film project (which he’s probably best known for), LUV to life, which he co-wrote and directed (with writing partner Justin Wilson): Starring Common and Michael Rainey Jr:

“I was what you call a stoop kid – meaning I would sit on the steps of my grandmother’s house and observe it all (life that is). For myself, that’s always played itself into my work, but I always think that my voice as a filmmaker is always about character searching for family; and more specifically a boy searching for a father figure…” – Sheldon Candis

Since that time, I’ve come to know Sheldon as a human, artist and activist. He tells stories with a prominent human rights, social message that shifts or invokes change in attitude or perspective of the viewer: At the very least, leaving the audience with something meaningful to reflect upon. As any great and talented storyteller/filmmaker often does; Sheldon delicately channels his past experiences of life, childhood and pain into telling great stories that emanate powerful messages of facing + overcoming adversity; bringing light to social injustice and the undeserving, along with elevating the voices of the underdog. A graduate of the prestigious University of Southern California (School of Cinematic Arts); a Baltimore native and having experienced a great deal of time living in North Carolina, Sheldon has leveraged these skills and life experiences to continue to bring meaningful projects to life. Sheldon seamlessly integrates his personal life mission into his work, ensuring that he; as a writer/director and his projects actively contribute, and play critical roles in shaping, informing and contributing to culture – in, and around Los Angeles + beyond. I appreciate Sheldon as a diligent spirit who has a powerful vision for his future and what he’s looking to accomplish for himself, his peers and surrounding community members. Some of the projects he’s spearheaded (pre/post LUV) that are reflective of having contributed to this journey thus far include:

Having most recently directed episodes 7 + 8 of Rebel – the new original TV series from John Singleton. The show tells the story of Rebecca “Rebel” Knight (Danielle Truitt); an Oakland Police Officer who loses her brother in a wrongful death shooting at the hands of her own fellow police officers. Rebecca pursues the cause as social arbiter of justice and goes beyond her duty for the voiceless of our present day American society (debuting May 2 and May 9 on BET).

 Sheldon has spearheaded the USMCHomefront – Capt. MacMillian‘ project – a docu-narrative series that sets out to tell the untold stories of women in our armed forces.
He is responsible for having created and directed the docu-narrative series ‘I Will What I Want‘ – a cinematic portrait of ballet phenom Misty Copeland for Under Armour:

Sheldon shot the docu-narrative series ‘Deep Dive‘ for the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, chronicling the successful symbiotic relationship between teacher and students within America’s charter school systems:

“I’m also inspired by that unknown person who created their art against any type of odds: The nameless people; the people who didn’t have a voice…” – Sheldon Candis

He shot short documentary ‘The Dwelling‘, chronicles the lives of two homeless men living along Tokyo’s Sumida Gawa. The film is being distributed by Scion and Giant Robot magazine:

Sheldon teamed with Roc Nation and Dreamville Records Grammy nominated artist J. Cole for the music video short film ‘Crooked Smile‘. The film is a call to action; challenging America’s current war on drugs and is a dedication to the life of Aiyana Stanley-Jones, a 7 year old tragically killed during a police raid in Detroit, Michigan. Crooked Smile was nominated for the MTV Video Music Award for ‘Best Video With A Social Statement’:

Sheldon’s feature length documentary ‘Here Come The Show‘ is an ESPN 30 for 30 original film: The inspiring true story of the greatest high school basketball team ever; the 1981′-83′ Dunbar Poets that achieved a 59-0 record over two undefeated seasons and produced four NBA players in David Wingate, Reggie Williams, Boston Celtic great Reggie Lewis, and a 5’3″ tiny dynamo named Tyrone ‘Muggsy’ Bogues:


Sheldon directed ‘Who Will Survive America‘ for the Sundance Now Doc Club original series Take 5: Justice in America. The short documentary chronicles America’s love affair and easy accessibility to guns:

And last but not least, he worked with Ford Motors to highlight the underrepresented black woman within American culture; telling organic, but prolific stories of these exceptional women having profiled a dancer, chef and pilot.
For more on Sheldon, listen in to our conversation via Soundcloud or iTunes and please share this post via social per the links below. It’s important we continue to elevate the good humans out there who are valuably contributing to our community and culture to bring about change.


Peace and love,

Written and Hosted by Georgii Speakman

Recorded in partnership with Dash Radio

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