Logline: Desperate to get to an anime convention halfway across the country, a quirky teen artist “borrows” her sister’s car, kidnaps her wily, black sheep grandfather and together they embark on the road trip of a lifetime.
DANDI (Jodelle Ferland, “Twilight: Eclispe”, “Cabin In The Woods”) is a high school-outcast; into death metal and influenced by dark Japanese anime. She wants nothing more than to submit her drawings to a contest at a convention in Louisiana called “Cajun Anime-ation”, an event dedicated to turning emerging artists’ comic books into a feature film directed by the famous Japanese director, Shinichiro Watanabe. The only people that seem to relate to Dandi are her friends, the nerdy FASSBENDER and popular but secretly haunted ASHLEIGH. Not even Dandi’s sister VANESSA supports her creativity. After Fassbender takes his life from excessive bullying and Dandi’s mother is called to the principal’s office, informed that Dandi’s behavior in school (not following convention) is hurting her academically, a long-time family friend decides it’s time that Dandi meets her grandfather, Harry. She tells Dandi they have a lot in common but leaves it at that.
Dandi takes the woman’s advice and seeks out Harry at his nursing home. But she is rebuffed and her new plan involves stealing her sister’s car and kidnapping Harry to take him with her on a road trip to convention. At first, Harry is taken aback but soon they grow much closer, especially after Dandi expresses her true passion about animation. It soon becomes clear to Harry why the family friend suggested they meet. Harry opens up to Dandi and explains that he used to be a lead character in a ‘strip called “Stalwart” and that his success, despite making him famous, lead to his eventual downfall, i.e. booze, women, etc. Harry confesses that his career took a pinnacle dive when he was accused of sexually abusing a girl. What Dandi and Harry come to realize is that they have a lot in common in terms of hiding secrets.
Dandi admits to Harry that, like him, she is an outcast; the “black sheep” of her family. She tells Harry that she believes he’s innocent of the crime he was accused of because she’s seen real evil in the eyes of her best friend’s father who beats her. She’s failed to detect that same evil in Harry’s eyes. But Dandi and Harry’s bond is shattered when Harry falls victim to his old vices and sells Dandi’s prized tickets to “Cajun Anime-tion” for booze and strip club money.
With all hope lost, Harry convinces Dandi to continue the trip. Upon arrival to Louisiana, Harry manages to redeem himself by finagling tickets after meeting an old colleague from his comic book heydays. After finally gaining access into the convention, Dandi gets the opportunity to meet face to face with Wantanabe (the Director) to pitch her idea but she realizes she’s her precious drawings have been stolen; the ones she’s been working on the entire trip. But excited nonetheless and inspired by Harry not to give up this once and a lifetime opportunity, Dandi pitches Watanabe-san her story idea which he finds engaging. Dandi, realizes her dream.