8.6/10
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Dear Zachary: A Letter to a Son About His Father (2008)

Not Rated | | Documentary, Biography, Crime | January 2008 (USA)
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A filmmaker decides to memorialize a murdered friend when his friend's ex-girlfriend announces she is expecting his son.

Director:

Kurt Kuenne

Writer:

Kurt Kuenne
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3,698 ( 5,912)
2 wins & 5 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Credited cast:
Kurt Kuenne Kurt Kuenne ... Himself (voice)
Andrew Bagby Andrew Bagby ... Himself (archive footage) (as Dr. Andrew Bagby)
David Bagby David Bagby ... Himself - Father
Kathleen Bagby Kathleen Bagby ... Herself - Mother
Shirley Turner Shirley Turner ... Herself - Ex-Girlfriend (archive footage) (as Dr. Shirley Turner)
Zachary Andrew Turner Zachary Andrew Turner ... Himself - Son (archive footage) (as Zachary Andrew Bagby)
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Heather Arnold Heather Arnold ... Herself - Former Fiance (as Dr. Heather Arnold)
Jon Atkinson Jon Atkinson ... Himself - Friend
Bob Bagby Bob Bagby ... Himself - Uncle (archive footage)
Earlene Bagby Earlene Bagby ... Herself - Bob's Widow
James Bagby James Bagby ... Himself - Cousin
Linda Bagby Linda Bagby ... Herself - Aunt
Pat Bagby Pat Bagby ... Himself - Uncle
Jason Baldwin Jason Baldwin ... Himself - Highschool Friend
Derek Barnard Derek Barnard ... Himself - Uncle
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Storyline

In 2001, Andrew Bagby, a medical resident, is murdered not long after breaking up with his girlfriend. Soon after, when she announces she's pregnant, one of Andrew's many close friends, Kurt Kuenne, begins this film, a gift to the child. Friends, relatives, and colleagues say warm and loving things about Andrew, home movies confirm his exuberance. Andrew's parents, Kathleen and David, move to Newfoundland, Canada where the ex-girlfriend has gone. They await an arrest and trial of the murderer. They negotiate with the ex-girlfriend to visit their grandchild, Zachary, and they seek custody. Is there any justice; is Zachary a sweet and innocent consolation for the loss of their son? Written by <jhailey@hotmail.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Certificate:

Not Rated

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

January 2008 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Agapite Zachary - Gramma s' ena gio gia ton patera tou See more »

Filming Locations:

Pittsburgh ,Pennsylvania, USA See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

MSNBC Films See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Sound Mix:

Dolby Digital

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

[All trivia items for this title are spoilers.] See more »

Quotes

Kurt Kuenne: [to Andrew in home movie] I have a good idea: I'll go back in time and stop you from dying.
See more »

Alternate Versions

The original cut of the documentary had a run time of over two hours and contains numerous other short scenes, most notably a segment in which Kuenne travels to England to interview Andrew's maternal relatives during a wedding. See more »

Connections

References The Crow (1994) See more »

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User Reviews

An absolutely devastating documentary you will never forget

It makes me sad to see people criticizing "Dear Zachary: A Letter to a Son About His Father" for its technical limitations. I rented knowing only it was about a pregnant woman who killed her ex-boyfriend, the subsequent plight of the victim's parents and their agonizing efforts to win the custody of their grandson, Zachary (whose mother was released on bail). But the whole story is so unpredictable - and devastatingly sad - that the less you know about it, the better.

Writer/director/producer/composer Kurt Kuenne was a close friend of Dr. Andrew Bagby, who was killed by a psychotic woman, "Dr." Shirley Turner, right after he had broken up with her. He decided to make a final film with his childhood friend Andrew, and when they learned Shirley was pregnant with Andrew's baby, whom she named Zachary, it became more than a tribute to a friend, but a project to show Zachary the father he would never get to know. With Shirley at large, however, their nightmare wasn't over.

With such a tough, emotional subject, it would be easy to get overtly sentimental, but Kuenne does a terrific job. The film is obviously a very personal project, and visibly no-budget, but that's not an issue because this is not a film meant to be visibly stunning. Apparently, some people are way too cynical to appreciate a film for its heart and content rather than focusing on its aesthetics and "artiness". It had a much bigger effect on me than the last Oscar winner for Best Documentary, "Man on Wire" (a fine film itself). Had this film been directed by, say, Michael Moore, it would have been more incendiary and garnered larger media attention, but wouldn't have been half as passionate, compelling and, most important, honest.

Kuenne uses the cinematic tool to document history, make a tribute for beloved friends (not only Andrew and little Zachary, but also Andrew's parents, David and Kathleen, the emotional core of this story) and to instigate the audience, both emotionally and intellectually. When most movies that get a wide release don't even attempt either of these goals, this is a remarkable achievement. Not to be missed. 10/10.


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