"[The family court system] is like being tied to the back of a pickup truck and dragged down a gravel road late at night. No one can hear your cries and complaints and it is not over until they say it is over." - Alec Baldwin
So far my team and I have shot about 20% of the footage we need to make this a feature length documentary. The money we’ve invested so far has been our own, but the remaining amount we need to finish the film, we aim to get from this crowdfunding campaign. We need help to cover production costs, archival footage, licensing fees, animation, post production and mastering for exhibition - everything it takes to finish a documentary at the most professional level. But our main goal of course, is to create awareness.
About myself: I am a Canadian/Trinidadian filmmaker who started in the film business working in distribution and also exhibition, but after a few years working on the business end I was pulled by my creative ambitions. After studying film in Los Angeles (UCLA Extension) and New York (New York Film Academy), I started doing non-fiction short films (which can be seen on vimeo - titles such as "I Can’t Eat That", "Kahlil Baker" and "Every 4 Years"). Now of course, it's time to raise the bar and do a feature length documentary!
Why the topic of family court?
As a young man I always heard stories of what some people go through in family court, men and women, and I always suspected it must be such a tough experience for any family to go through. Now that I’m a little older and in my 40’s, I’ve now seen friends and family go through it, and I’m motivated, now more than ever, to do something about it.
I have heard many stories from people who were children of divorce, and while some believe the family court system was fair to them, there are many others who believe the system is broken, heartless, and in serious need of reform!
How will we make this work?
We have already booked dozens of people (lawyers, psychologists, men and women who've been divorced and others who are still going through the process, etc.) who are willing to go on the record and talk about their opinions of the family court systems in the United States and Canada. Believe me when I say that there has been no shortage of people willing to say how they feel about family courts with brutal honesty. Therefore, after getting the funds we need, all we need it to quickly schedule shooting dates with our interview subjects and we'll be on a plane (or bus) to interview them!
Why am I doing this?
For most people, the greatest joy in life comes from family, and if the breakup of family is trivialized by family courts, then it might be in major need of reform. We all get joy from family. Our own families are something some of us aspire to, and it's what many of us want to preserve. And if there is a bias in family court when families break up, I want to expose it. The faster it's exposed, the faster it can be fixed!
What side am I on?
I’m not on anyone’s side. For my team and I, this is an investigative film. Only at the end of the film will you see what my conclusion is.
Does the sample trailer represent the film?
No, it does not. It only represents the opinions and views of those we have interviewed so far, and is really meant to tantalize the audience. If this crowd funding campaign is successful, it will push us along the road where we find out what more people (lawyers, moms, dads, children, judges, etc.) think of the family court system. My own personal opinion will be revealed after I hear what everyone has to say.
Why should someone be interested in this film?
Because at the very least, the outcome can affect you if you go through family court one day. And even if you don't ever get married or have children, it is widely believed that the effects of family breakups and broken homes are what help cause a lot of serious problems in our society (incarceration rates of boys, teenage pregnancy, depression, etc.) that can affect us all.
Besides your sample trailer, can I see any more footage of what you've shot?
Absolutely! Some additional clips are on my youtube channel.
Risks and challenges
Family court as a topic is a very contentious issue. The main risk and challenge is not getting people willing to talk - it's getting people in power to be honest about possible solutions. We don't intend to make a film with just talking heads. We want the audience to come away with solutions.
Unfortunately, many who are part of this system (lawyers, social workers, judges etc.) make a living in family courts, and it is widely whispered that there are those who don't object to the system being as it is, as opposed to changes taking place that can jeopardize their ability to earn money. In short, there can be a boys and girls club that we will have to contend with to get to the bottom of the truth.
How can we overcome this? In part, we already have. We've already spoken to people who once praised the system (lawyers and non-lawyers) but later in their lives their opinions changed. Some of these people were suddenly on the receiving end of the harsher realities that can occur as a result of family courts (parental alienation, for example), and of course, consequently, more are speaking up. But again, a challenge is getting those people in particular to speak up, especially when some may be in a state of denial. Like a wise man once said, "It is difficult to get a man to understand something when his salary depends upon his not understanding it."
But we are confident we can do it! More and more people, some of whom were once part of the system are speaking up, especially on social media. At the end of the day, we believe that when children and their futures are at stake, which is often what hangs in the balance in family courts, people don't stay silent for long.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
- (40 days)