David F. Sandberg
Swedish filmmaker David F. Sandberg's alarming short horror film "Lights Out" (2013) provided him with a pathway to mainstream American features via producer James Wan, who hired Sandberg to direct a feature-length version in 2016. Born in 1981 in the Swedish city of Jönköping, Sandberg began making films at an early age, using his father's video camera and friends and family as performers. When the camera broke, Sandberg took a job at a video rental store, which not only provided him with the funds to buy his own camcorder, but also an informal film education through the store's inventory of titles. He later took an internship at a local film center, which he began working on short films, beginning with 2006's "För Barnen." His next animated effort, "Vad tyst det blev" (2006), earned huge viewer numbers on YouTube and led to animation assignments for commercials and Swedish television programs. Sandberg launched his own production company and began working on documentary projects for the Swedish Inheritance Fund, as well as the animated series "Earth Savers" (2011) for CL Films. Though he had earned a reputation for animation and documentaries, Sandberg's first love was horror and science fiction, and with the help of his wife, actress Lotta Losten, he began making micro-budgeted shorts in these genres in their apartment. Their second effort, "Lights Out" (2013), was a genuinely terrifying short with Losten as a woman haunted by a creature that appears to only exist in total darkness, and won several awards at international horror festivals. Several more ingenious horror-themed shorts preceded Sandberg's feature debut with an expanded version of "Lights Out" for producers James Wan ("The Conjuring," 2013) and Eric Heisserer. The feature, released in 2016, was a box office success, and led to Sanberg taking the director's chair for "Annabelle 2" (2017), a sequel to the supernatural thriller, also produced by Wan, about a demonic doll wreaking havoc on its owners.