A 9-year-old learns to cope with guilt, after he accidentally hurts his little brother in a game of backyard baseball.

“Brothers” started as a challenge by my mentors Derek Cianfrance and Jim Helton, while I was working on Derek’s film “The Light Between Oceans.” Derek and Jim pushed me to make a film that blurred the line between narrative and documentary filmmaking. The plot was to be relatively simple, but open to improvisation, as Derek always says that the most truthful performances come when people stop acting and start being.

Lucky for me, I have great friends in the Thomsen family, a bilingual family of five from my hometown. When I talked to them about making a film that explored a child’s understanding of empathy, they offered their house as a set and their friends as extras. Since they had no acting experience, we turned every scene into a game, adapting the script to fit their individual idiosyncrasies.

I’m incredibly proud of “Brothers” and was delighted to hear that Derek, Jim, the Thomsens, and the producers of “The Light Between Oceans” found the film to be a powerful representation of the moment a child discovers the true meaning of empathy.