director's statement

 

 In the era of #metoo and #timesup, who needs another film directed by a white guy, starring mostly white guys? Before you get too defensive, I applaud and affirm that women, people of color, and the LGBTQ community should be able to spread their wings and have their stories told in their own voices in much greater quantity than they have in the first century plus of filmmaking. But as white men grapple with their loss of privilege in society, some voluntarily and others unfortunately not, we need films that portray honest, positive examples of 21st century masculinity that inspire men to respect themselves and the women around them. This film is about a man who’s wrestling with what it means to be a good father and a good man when he never saw those things modeled for him in his own childhood. It’s about a grandfather who always treated women with respect, and believes his granddaughter can love the woods the way he has. That she can be confident and strong and feminine, that hunting, fishing and camping aren’t just for the guys. And the real hero of the story is Jenna. Whose incredible perseverance and love for her family gives her the courage to do extraordinary things in the face of extreme pain.

I’m making this film because I hope it inspires compassion for what it takes to be a strong, determined young woman like Jenna, and a man who does his best in spite of his flaws like David. I hope the audience can see themselves in the characters, admire their perseverance, and leave with a dash of courage to face their own obstacles.

I’ll be honest. Films of this genre don’t make a profit unless they star Leonardo DiCaprio (The Revenant) or are directed by Sean Penn (Into the Wild) or Werner Herzog (Grizzly Man, Rescue Dawn). While people love to see these movies on Netflix or Hulu for a quiet night at home, they don’t come out to the theater for them. But do you know who does love movies like this? Festivals. Festivals love new young directors and great acting performances by people with little name recognition before their festival. They want the opportunity to introduce the next generation that will carry the torch of the art form of film, which is part of why I want to make this movie. While I’ve already made a feature length documentary that I’m extremely proud of, in order to advance my career, and the careers of the rest of my team working on this film, I need to make a feature length narrative film on my own terms before another studio will hand me the reigns to their film.

I encourage you to support this film because you believe in good, artistic filmmaking and the skills of the professionals that make it happen. But more than that, I encourage you to support this film because of its message of what it means to be a good man that empowers the women around him and leaves behind a legacy he can be proud of.

J.D. O’Brien