Director Theo Love Takes Us On A Blockbuster Treasure Hunt In ‘White Tide: The Legend of Culebra” Documentary

“Listen, if you’re going to make a movie, make a movie on a tropical island,” White Tide: The Legend of Culebra director Theo Love told me on the red carpet of the documentary’s Tribeca Film Festival premiere. “It’s wonderful! We hung out at the beach. We had lobster. It was a great time!”

The film follows the unbelievably true story of Rodney Hyden, a small business owner and family man from Florida, who goes on a journey to find buried treasure. “I was just Googling stories,” said Love. “I’m a documentary filmmaker, I’m always on the hunt for a good story.” His interest peaked when he learned about Hyden’s experience: “I heard about this guy in Florida who went looking for buried treasure — two million dollars buried in a hole on an island off the coast of Puerto Rico. [Hyden] went on this adventure trying to dig it up. I called him up and I was like hey do you want to make a movie about this? And he said yes!”

Watch my interview with White Tide: The Legend of Culebra director Theo Love and subject Rodney Hyden, below:

White Tide: The Legend of Culebra isn’t your typical documentary, as Love manages to create a rollercoaster ride of a film that tackles the aftermath of the 2008 financial crisis while simultaneously capturing the fun and magic of Hyden’s treasure hunting story. “There’s educational documentaries, there’s issue-based documentaries, and those are all wonderful. This documentary is made to help people have a good time. This is a fun time at the movies. It’s an adventure, there’s lots of twists and turns, and we just want audiences to enjoy it,” Love told me. “It’s a documentary that feels like a big blockbuster narrative movie, but actually a true documentary.”

Since Hyden had already gone on this journey, he was able to recount his tale for Love — but when it came to re-enacting the scenes for the big screen, who would be the perfect person to play him? “Rodney is a one of a kind person. When we were talking about how to tell this story we were talking about [how] we might have to do some reenactments. Who could possibly play Rodney in the reenactments?” Soon the answer became very clear: “Who better to play Rodney than Rodney?”

“I had fun doing it, it was a blast!” said Hyden on tackling the reenactments himself. “He learned how to be an actor,” Love chimed in. “And honestly, he’s a movie star!”

Love hopes this premiere at Tribeca will help with future films he’s working on as well. “We’ve got lots of films in development,” he said, “and we’re hoping that Tribeca is a big launch.”

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