In 1995, 52-year-old Larry L. Hillblom, the founder and largest shareholder in DHL Worldwide Express, disappeared after crashing his WWII seaplane in the South Pacific. Hillblom had been living what seemed to be a quiet and health-conscious bachelor life in Saipan, 115 miles north of Guam, mostly because he liked the tax benefits. Leaving behind almost a billion dollars, Hillblom sparked a battle over his estate that took on epic proportions: Led by a soft-spoken but unwavering lawyer from Saipan, the impoverished teenage prostitutes who claim to have birthed Larry's heirs find themselves pitted against Larry's former business associates, blinded by greed and entitlement, and several of the largest law firms in the world.
In her feature debut, director Alexis Manya Spraic methodically peels back the layers of the secretive and scandalous life of an enigmatic and reclusive tycoon. Brilliantly staying ahead of the audience, she keeps the mystery unraveling at a steady pace and probes deeply into the legal quagmire and fascinating players on both sides. Shadow Billionaire is a gripping character piece and a fascinating look at the lengths an unlikely hero will go to expose the truth.
Length: 86 minutes
Director: Alexis Manya Spraic
Producer: Sasha Alpert
Executive Producers: Jonathan Murray, Gil Goldschein, Josh Braun
Director of Photography: Jon Aaron Aaseng
Composers: Luke and Holly Rothschild with String Theory
Production Company: BMP Films
Alexis Manya Spraic graduated from Columbia University in 2003 and has since been working as a filmmaker based in Los Angeles and New York. Her most recent work includes Cat Dancers (winner of the special jury prize for editing at SXSW), which she edited and coproduced for HBO; the Grammy-nominated Respect Yourself, which she edited for PBS; Maxed Out, which she edited and coproduced; and the feature Red Sands, which she edited for Sony Pictures. Her work has been seen on Showtime, HBO, PBS, A&E, and IFC as well as theatrically and at festivals internationally. Shadow Billionaire is her directorial debut.