Dante: Star of The Mango Tree


Dante Sandiford, winner of the Best Male Actor Award at the RISE Film Festival 2014.

Dante Sandiford, winner of the Best Male Actor Award at the RISE Film Festival 2014.

Last month Rise Saint Lucia Inc hosted the second annual Rise Film Festival. The festival is seen as an avenue for young people to portray their talents and to bring forward some of the prevalent issues that they are faced with, through film.

Among the participants of the Festival was A.C.I.D Kreations, with a short film entitled ‘The Mango Tree.’

The film obtained most of the awards at the prize-giving ceremony, including Viewer’s Choice, Best Screenplay and First Place Overall It was also the medium through which budding actor Dante Sandiford obtained the accolade of Best Male Actor. With the film gaining such success, I gave in to curiosity and viewed it via Youtube. I was most impressed with the short production and Dante’s role and decided to get to know more about the young chap.

Dante Sandiford is a ten-year-old resident of Grande Riviere, Gros Islet and is the son of Ted Sandiford, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of A.C.I.D Kreations. The Mango Tree was a first time experience for Dante as an actor, but he revealed that he has always shown a keen interest in his father’s work, which involves film and animation production.

“Acting on the set of ‘The Mango Tree’ was fun and exciting” he smiled. I enjoyed working with my dad and the others; it was a great experience.”

‘The Mango Tree’ is a comical story of two boys who venture to steal mangoes from their neighbour’s mango tree, but transgress into a real juicy fiasco.

As our conversation went on, Dante explained that he was really surprised when he heard his name being announced for the Best Male Actor Award.

“When I heard the first name, I thought there was another Dante in the audience. But when the announcer called my full name I was shocked. I can’t really explain the feeling, but it was like one of excitement mixed with cluelessness. I didn’t know what was happening.

” Dante says that he really loves drawing, a skill that he acquired from his dad. He enjoys drawing cartoons and learning about the craft of animation from his father. He plans on working on producing films with his dad in his spare time.

“One of the people I look up to the most is my father because to me, my father is one of the most busiest, funniest and most awesome persons that I know. I spend a lot of time with him, especially when he is working on his animations and films. If I have to become famous in making movies and animations, I’d rather do it in a low-key way, not everybody knowing where I am. I love acting but I prefer the production side of it.” Dante stated.

Dante is a Grade 5 student of the Camille Henry Memorial School. He is confident that he will be successful at Common Entrance examinations, and is dreaming of obtaining admission to the St. Mary’s College. He expresses that extra zeal to achieve his goal. But why?

“For a lot of reasons. Because my father teaches Visual Art at the school; that’s the school that he attended, and if I get assigned to St. Mary’s College I know I will be happy there because I already have lots of friends there.

I also spoke with the senior Sandiford, Ted, who gave me some insight on the short film. I asked him what inspired the idea for ‘The Mango Tree’.

“I really can’t give you a definite answer for that. I guess it has to do with what I’m exposed to. I watch a lot of movies, I write a lot, I think a lot and I paint a lot. So I guess my mind is always at work.”

He proceeded in sharing with me the message behind the short production.

“There is a lot of symbolism in there, and the meaning behind the movie is that, everyone has something to fear, something to run from. So you shouldn’t be afraid of your fellow man; but only fear God.”

In concluding our conversation, I asked Dante what field of work he would want to venture into upon leaving school. Again he smiled and thought for a moment. It was obvious that he still isn’t certain, but his response shows just how much is going on in young Dante’s mind.

“I want to do so many things, I’m not even sure as yet what I want to become. I’d like to be an architect, a builder, a scientist, a biologist, a marine biologist and do a little acting.”

Sounds like there will be plenty of other awards in this budding actor’s future, if he has his way.

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One Response to Dante: Star of The Mango Tree

  1. Caz says:

    I thought that I had seen that face somewhere before. I commented what lovely boys of the two of them in the film last week. Well done kiddo. Gorgeous child.

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