Films: Dear Zachary: a letter to a son about his father

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Dear Zachary: a letter to a son about his father

Dear Zachary: a letter to a son about his father

USA, 2008, 95 Minute Running Time
Genre/Subjects: Crime, Documentary, Family Issues
Program: Documentary Films
Language: English

DIRECTOR: Kurt Kuenne
Producer: Kurt Kuenne
Editor: Kurt Kuenne
Screenwriter: Kurt Kuenne
Cinematographer: Kurt Kuenne
Principal Cast: Kurt Kuenne, Zachary Bagby, David Bagby, Dr. Andrew Bagby, Kathleen Bagby
US Distributor: Oscilloscope Pictures

A chilling true-crime story of the murder of Dr. Andrew Bagby, Dear Zachary is also a cinematic scrapbook containing a heartrending letter from filmmaker Kurt Kuenne to the son who would never know his father.

A deceptively lighthearted opening—comprised of a tribute to Bagby by dozens of friends and family members in three countries—belies the darkness that this documentary inevitably confronts. At the center of the story are Andrew’s parents, David and Kathleen, who appear at intervals to celebrate his life and spirit, wonder at the mysterious decisions that led to his death, and share their devastation over their loss. From this chiaroscuro of emotions emerges the thread of Andrew’s story. Disturbing film clips show him interacting with a much-older, off-kilter girlfriend who is ultimately, it seems, responsible for his death but who flees to Canada to escape arrest. When the Bagbys discover that she is pregnant with their grandson and that the Canadian government is dragging its feet on extradition, they move to Newfoundland to undertake a daunting fight for custody and justice. (David Bagby has chronicled their experience in the memoir Dance with the Devil).

Using a wealth of material—from wide-ranging interviews to boyhood films starring Andrew—Kuenne focuses a kaleidoscope of images into a compelling narrative that in turn forms an overwhelmingly emotional monument to not only the man who died but all those whose lives he touched.

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