The movie project "A FATHER AND SON"

An independent feature film project.

Why A FATHER AND SON is important.

by filmmaker Michael R. Barnard

“Michael’s script is one of the best I’ve read in a very long time. It’s got a terrific story (one that could have gone so wrong at least a dozen times but didn’t,) it’s got loads of heart (in a good way,) it’s got humor (I laughed out loud at least a couple of times,) it’s got genuinely interesting and appealing characters (the lead is especially well drawn and a great role.)  Best of all, it’s actually full of good writing. It’s a film that really needs to be made.”

Those are the comments of former Miramax executive Mark Lipsky. (see archive copy) Others in the industry have said similar things about the script, although not so publicly and enthusiastically: John Ferraro at Paramount Classics, Hunt Lowry at Warner Bros., Jason Blumenthal at Sony Pictures, and many others. In the end, it’s a unique story that can only be told by a few people — the filmmaker and the people who want to see the story made into a movie.

In late 2007, we went into production on the film with star John Schneider starring (Dukes of Hazzard, Smallville), but shut down production immediately after shooting only one scene, when the then-new Great Recession gutted the portfolios of investors.

We know a movie is just a movie, but A FATHER AND SON is not just a sexy thriller. It’s not just a poignant story about the difficulties sons have with their fathers. It is also a story about a critical wave of sentiment that is building in America and worldwide: people are becoming aware of the damage that hatred and prejudice about gays is causing to fellow  human beings.

In 2010, there were almost a dozen suicides attributed to gay-bashing and bullying. (see this article)

People are shocked to learn about hatred such as this diatribe from an Arkansas public school. These are the words of Arkansas District School Board member Clint McCance. He posted this publicly on his Facebook page.

“Seriously they want me to wear purple because five queers killed themselves. The only way im wearin it for them is if they all commit suicide. I cant believe the people of this world have gotten this stupid. We are honoring the fact that they sinned and killed thereselves because of their sin. REALLY PEOPLE.”

“…because being a fag doesn’t give you the right to ruin the rest of our lives. If you get easily offended by being called a fag then dont tell anyone you are a fag. Keep that shit to yourself. I dont care how people decide to live their lives. They dont bother me if they keep it to thereselves. It pisses me off though that we make a special purple fag day for them. I like that fags cant procreate. I also enjoy the fact that they often give each other aids and die. If you arent against it, you might as well be for it.”

“I would disown my kids they were gay. They will not be welcome at my home or in my vicinity. I will absolutely run them off. Of course my kids will know better.” (see this article)

Recently, this horrible letter surfaced about a son, “James,” who had come out to his father:

A father's letter

A father’s letter

When I first wrote the story for the screenplay A FATHER AND SON, I would’ve been astonished to learn that the subject matter could still have an impact now, more than a decade later. Not only is it still true, it is worse. Society is moving too slowly to protect its families in diversity.

Our society has a mechanism: when bad judgment and hatred become visible to all, others can strive to correct it. It’s like flipping on a light and all the cockroaches scurry away. The public awareness can cause correction.

A FATHER AND SON is a good screenplay, a thriller drama that is fast-paced and full of good characters. It is an enjoyable movie and will please audiences. And, it also shines a light that causes cockroaches of hatred to scatter. Here’s a scene from A FATHER AND SON that I wrote many years before Mr. McCance and “Dad” said the same thing in real life:

————————————————–

GOOD OL BOY 1
You don’t know what you’d do if you had a boy who come to you saying, ‘Daddy, I’m a queer?’

JOHN
I don’t know.

HENRY
Well sure as hell I know. That boy’d be out there with them gayboys, no son of mine, I tell you. Shit.

JOHN
Your son?

HENRY
Well, it ain’t my son. But if there were a son…

JOHN
But it ain’t your son, so how do you really know?

HENRY
Damn, John, what you talking about? Of course it ain’t my son. But if there was a son…

JOHN
You’d throw your son away?

HENRY
Throw Hank away?

Henry ponders for a second, then declares:

HENRY (CONT’D)
No, damn straight. Throw him out. No son of mine!

JOHN
Damn straight. That’s the way it is. Well, I gotta finish off that truck.

————————————————–

A FATHER AND SON tells the story of a father who was like Mr. McCance and “Dad.” Except this man, his name is John, this man fights to correct the mistakes he made. The audience for this movie is going to be cheering for John by the end of the movie. They will develop the same revulsion about what Mr. McCance and “Dad” wrote that you may have felt when you read it.

This movie needs to be made and presented to the public.

Description of A FATHER AND SON

A FATHER AND SON will be a unique and powerful movie, a smart, quirky low-budget independent feature film for a sophisticated young audience. It will be a high-quality feature film for theatrical release, produced as efficiently as possible.

It is also a film for fathers of this generation. Two decades ago, there was a film, A FIELD OF DREAMS, that had a unique and unusual impact: men were known to go see it by themselves and weep because of the impact of the feelings inspired by the film about seeing their fathers.

The audience for A FATHER AND SON will not walk away from this feature film untouched and unmoved. It might change a life. It will entertain many.

The script has been fully developed via staged readings, professional editing, focus group activity, and critiquing by producers and distributors. It is 115 pages and was a finalist in the prestigious Chesterfield script competition.

A FATHER AND SON is ready for pre-production. Probable MPAA rating: “R”. All rights available.

The logline for A FATHER AND SON

A FATHER AND SON by Michael R. Barnard looks at a societal issue that damages lives: Parents disowning their teenagers who come out as gay. Drastic reality often snaps parents out of their fears and prejudices. A FATHER AND SON looks at this problem from the viewpoint of a family and a drastic reality. 

Logline

 Every boy tossed to the streets dreams of the day his father begs to be forgiven.

Someone is killing the boys of the streets of Hollywood and John has discovered that his son may have been a victim. Everything he has done wrong now comes crashing down on him. He must find his son, entering the abyss of street life in Hollywood, not even knowing if the boy is dead or alive.

This ain’t Tinseltown.

Synopsis of A FATHER AND SON.

Life on Hollywood’s mean streets in ‘A Father and Son‘

The Tale of a Father Who Discovers His Son May Have Been the Victim of a Serial Killer in Hollywood

Michael R. Barnard’s “A FATHER AND SON” first appears to be a tawdry tale of street hustlers and a serial killer attacking boy prostitutes. It is actually the powerful story of a man fighting to fix mistakes he has made. Those mistakes have had a profound impact on the people he loves. The story possesses hints of “American Beauty,” “Brokeback Mountain,” “Boys Don’t Cry,” and “Billy Elliot,” yet has its own unique and wonderful personality.

There was a time in America when our biggest worry was ‘Y2K’ instead of terrorists, when Americans were polarized by a peccadillo in the White House rather than the war and failing economy, when people found sex the old-fashioned way—on street corners instead of online. This is a story from 1998.
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