Dear Zachary: A Letter to a Son About His Father : Heartbreaking but poorly made documentary

Heartbreaking but poorly made documentary

Yes, this film certainly brings out the handkerchiefs, but why is everyone so oblivious of how poorly it was made? The editing was really amateurish and hard to watch, and the inserts from the home movies were carelessly edited in and even glib in tone. This film was so maudlin and over-the-top, couldn't the director tone it down a bit? The story was wrenching enough.

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Re: Heartbreaking but poorly made documentary

Kurt set off on this project with the intention of making it a home movie. Something to show Zachary when he was old enough. He shot all of his interviews on a TRV camcorder. This was not intended for theatrical distribution. As a result, the quality is very low.

Ace

Another perspective

Some other perspectives on the editing:

DEAR ZACHARY is, above all, a virtuoso feat in editing and Kuenne uses the material at his disposal to devastating effect Peter Debruge, Variety


DEAR ZACHARY is one of the best works of sheer film editing since Oliver Stone seemingly broke the mold in JFKa furious lightning bolt of reminiscence and outrage that is going to reach into each viewers chest and squeeze their heart like a tomato in a vice. Erik Childress, efilmcritic.com


Its a tour de force of editing and the music is amazing. Michael Granberry, Dallas Morning News


Kuenne expertly edits it into the most dramatic rollercoaster of emotions that I have ever seenthrough quick editing, Kuenne introduces you to a myriad of people who love and miss Andrew, but surprisingly, the sea of faces doesnt weigh you down with the confusion of keeping people straight. He manages to share their thoughts and stories about Andrew in a clear, and easy-to-understand manner. Monika Bartyzel, Cinematical


Defying the stereotype of documentaries as slow-paced, Kuenne moves at a breakneck speedwhere many documentarians rely on the long take, he edits together bits and pieces to tell his story for maximum emotional impact. Hank Sartin, Time Out Chicago


Kuenne has a bonanza of footageand he edits it with an impressive surgical precision. – Mark Holcomb, Time Out New York


DEAR ZACHARY is masterfully put together, as Kuenne splices his exhaustive archive of home movies the two made as teens with photos, the funny and loving stories Bagby's family, friends and colleagues confide to the camera, and the exasperating lack of progress in the case against Bagby's murderer. Jenni Miller, Premiere Magazine


More reviews at www.dearzachary.com

Cheers,
Kurt

Re: Another perspective

lol, u tool

Re: Another perspective

Oh man, The director himself pwns the topic creator. Kurt, kickass move. Totally checkmated him

–You've just crossed into…The Twilight Zone!–

Re: Another perspective

By posting opinions that differ from the OP's opinion?

That's doesn't make it fact, mate.

Stuff like this reminds me of "Movie Poop Shoot.com" from Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back.

Re: Another perspective

Kurt, amazing movie. Well made, emotional roller-coaster, great juxtaposition of story -

Re: Another perspective

perfectly stated

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Kurt,
Don't feel you have to respond to pinheads who don't like the film.
My girlfriend and I just finished watching your movie and I use film in my college classes and I can honestly say we are forever changed by what we saw.

Our thoughts are with you and the Bagbys.

-Michael

Re: Another perspective

Its someone offering their opinion How does that make them a pinhead?

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I agree with the positive reviews. This was a spectacular movie and the editing was perfect.
May God bless and comfort all who were affected by that devil woman.

I cheese sandwich you https://s3-us-west-2.amazonaws.com/data.filmboards/images/emoticons/love1.GIF" alt="love1.gif">

Re: Another perspective

bad ass dude. You are the man. Most powerful film I've ever seen.

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Re: Another perspective

Is this really Kurt Kuenne? If that is the case, your documentary was one of the most affecting and life-affirming films I have ever seen. As an amateur documentary filmmaker, the editing was tremendous. Thank you, Kurt.

Re: Another perspective

Good job, Kurt. I have to say that I was put off by the editing at first, but that's a relatively minor complaint and maybe even ultimately irrelevant when the heart of of this story is told so emotionally, which most movies ignore. To focus on a technical detail like that, and not the story of real human beings laid bare, would be cold hearted indeed.

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Re: Another perspective

Kurt - I just finished watching this amazing film on Netflix. IMO, the editing contributed mightily to the effectiveness of the work. I began the film believing it would be a Hallmark-type tribute to a friend. The pace and editing slowly transform the experience into one worthy of Hitchcock. How many times when watching a movie, does anyone think,"Man, this is some good editing!" But I did think exactly that.
Thank you for making this. I hope it helped David and Kate with their healing process. How lucky you are to know them and to have known Andrew.

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I loved this film. Thank you for making it.

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Just watched the movie and was blown away.
You did a more than awesome job Kurt, you're the definition of a real friend.

I certainly hope Judge Welsh gets what she deserves: disbarred, plain and simple.

Re: Another perspective

Kurt, your film was so powerful and touching. One of the most unforgettable movie experiences of my life! Thanks!

https://s3-us-west-2.amazonaws.com/data.filmboards/images/emoticons/popcorn.GIF" alt="popcorn.gif">Best of 2012:
https://s3-us-west-2.amazonaws.com:443/data.filmboards/images/upload/nkbP8FP.jpg">https://s3-us-west-2.amazonaws.com:443/data.filmboards/images/upload/nkbP8FP.jpg

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Re: Another perspective

Yuk! Extremely tacky move, if you are the director.

~.~
I WANT THE TRUTH! http://www.imdb.com/list/ze4EduNaQ-s/">http://www.imdb.com/list/ze4EduNaQ-s/

Re: Another perspective

Projecting your own failings in life. Jealousy at its core. You suck and the director made an awesome film.

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Only thing I found distracting were the loud jarring sounds. Kinda diminished the shock at times

Re: Another perspective

I really appreciated your film Kurt, I've seen several films that moved me (Requiem for a Dream, The Passion of the Christ, 12 Years a Slave etc…) but this is possibly the only film I have ever seen that shook me to my core. Best documentary I have ever seen. This will haunt me for days.

Re: Heartbreaking but poorly made documentary

It's a beautiful rendering through the aesthetic of the home movie. Judge it based on what it is and what it is aiming for and the merits therein, not some removed idea of what makes a good movie.

Re: Heartbreaking but poorly made documentary

I'm going to have to completely disagree.

I thought it was very well edited, and only added to how the story developed. I saw it at Slamdance and was just impressed by it as a documentary. While I understand there may be differing opinions, of the people I talked to whom also saw it, no such complaints were made.

Re: Heartbreaking but poorly made documentary

I thought it was edited perfectly. It reflects the feelings of the participants as the story unfolds. If we are going to make comments about the aesthetic of the film, sometimes the narration was said too fast, and I missed what was being said because of the speed of it. But even that minor detail took nothing from the film.

Re: Heartbreaking but poorly made documentary

For me, if it were presented in a slow and methodical fashion, then I would have had time to stop and think…okay this is where it's going. But Dear Zachary's fast pace works to an advantage to me because I don't get any breaks. Everything just hits you. And to me, that's more effective. I thought it was phenomenal and innovative and just great

Re: Heartbreaking but poorly made documentary

A movie that will touch the lives of everyone! Considering how low budget the movie was, you can see the true effort made by the writer to capture and bring forth a compelling message for human life. A truely sad and tragic story. My heart goes out to Andrew's family and friends. Andrew and his son Zachery sounded like amazing human beings, who changed and touched many lives. Andrew's parents are two of the most lovely and compassionate beautiful people! Kurt, thanks for sharing your story about your friend..

Re: Heartbreaking but poorly made documentary

Too bad you have no clue what your talking about. This movie was one of the best put together documentaries I have ever seen and a lot of people agree.

Go back under your bridge.

Re: Heartbreaking but poorly made documentary

I would imagine that Flaherty himself would say this was the heart and essence of documentary film making.
Bravo!

Re: Heartbreaking but poorly made documentary

This film was made "exactly" the way it should have been. To read your remarks leads one to believe that you think you could have done a much better job. Do you think so? Were you involved with this traumatic story of something that never should have happened? If so, you must have had a "rosie" life so far. I, and I would imagine many others in the audience, related to this in a sense of "there but for the grace of God go I".

My first husband left me eleven days before our/MY son was born. Ironically with a "friend" who assisted with my baby shower. For 13 years I struggled and wrenched everytime it was court appointed for visitation to the people who with their unbelievable act were allowed to TAKE my son away from me. I lived in constant fear of what they might do, or not do, when he was away from my arms. To me, To my son? Oh how I cried for ALL of the people that you say were edited amateruishly. Oh how I applaud this movie and whomever had ANYTHING to do with it's conception through birth and beyond.

With an impact to do something good and deserved as the horrors for which Zachary's family had to endure, NEVER EVER happen again, what does it matter to you, or your opinion on "how poorly it was made"?

The film is Honest. It had to be done, so something like this DOES NOT happen again. The impact and with who, what, and/or where it touches will hopefully remain in the hearts and souls of those who have lived a story like this, those who can change the problems, those who can't believe there are people like the those who do others HARM.

You say, glib, maudlin, and over the top? How dare you.

Re: Heartbreaking but poorly made documentary

This film is like a family film made with professional technique

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What Bollocks

While I thought some of the looping and effects were unnecessary, I have a degree in the history of cinema verite and have been watching non-fiction film for over 40 years, and I found this to be one of the most moving documentary films I have ever seen.

One reason for this was the sensational bounty of video footage to be drawn upon. The fact that Kurt made films with Andrew as kids was invaluable. We virtually watched Andrew grow up before our eyes, then grew to know him better following his passing via the followup interviews which enabled us to see Andrew through the eyes of his family and friends.

There have been few documentary subjects whose lives are as well chronicled on film and video as Andrew's seems to have been. So when the cataclysmic events overtake the story, we feel as if we are falling into the abyss with all his other friends and family.

I am astounded, just on a production level, that Kurt had the tenacity to work with this emotional footage day in and day out for years. That's hard enough to do when you're working on a film about a general subject. To sift through endless videos that deal with such heartbreaking personal loss is just an incredible accomplishment, if you stop and think about it. It must either be cathartic, or involves some personal permanent trauma, or both.

Have read a couple of blogposts that refer to the film as "manipulative" and/or deceitful as Kurt doesn't reveal upfront the true horrors to come. Anyone who isn't manipulated by this sheer examination of the capacity of some humans to inflict misery on others should get back to the morgue. Manipulative is not a pejorative when dealing with empathy.

The journey was conveyed in exactly the proper way. It was the events themselves that caused this project to take two BIG left turns, one potentially joyful and redemptive, the other a devastating tumble into an immeasurable pit of crushing grief. That is the journey the filmmaker and all the participants were forced to take.

The film is shattering for the viewers because we take the same ride. Thanks for taking the time, Kurt, and if you make no other films in your lifetime, you should consider this your own "Triumph of the Will". And hopefully time will act as its own balm to your own personal anguish.

And thanks to the grandparents for being so resolute in their devotion to their son and Zachary. And thanks to Dave for being one of the very few casualties brave enough to honestly display on film the profanity that such heartbreaking violence can generate. Dave spoke with the frank seething rage that victims seldom are allowed display on film. That in itself was a blessing.

Re: What Bollocks

I agree completely.
I thought that the film used effects that distracted from the story and confused its point at times, but ultimately, I was a fan.
It just set out to do so much so it was difficult to resolve all of its questions.
Nevertheless, I became so emotionally invested in that by the end, this wasn't as distracting as it was in the beginning.
It's a story worth telling and the director's personal relationship raised the stakes of the film, but could have benefitted from some objective eyes.

Re: Heartbreaking but poorly made documentary

The editing of this film was extremely impressive. I edit documentaries and I was really amazed at points with how rich it was. The phrenetic style complimented the horrid story. Criticisms of the editing or production value (has the original poster seen other verite docs?) are coming from an uninformed point of view in my opinion.

And I agree with the last post from filmex2000, but I would shy away from mentioning 'Triumph of the Will' in any way lol. Call it the filmmaker's own Potemkin, Hearts and Minds, Dark Days, Capturing the Friedmans, etc - anything but 'Triumph of the Will'.

Re: Heartbreaking but poorly made documentary

The editing was amazing, end of story, the end. To take all that footage and distill it into that particular story- I'm just blown away.

But all that is beside the point.

With such raw emotions captured, I felt priveleged and humbled to watch this film.

Re: Heartbreaking but poorly made documentary

It was a very personal film so I don't fault the director for using a very personal approach to the editing. My only criticism would be that too often the same pics were used over and over to hammer home some point. And also the music was, at times, too heavy handed.

But I suppose the lighter touch that a more distant, objective editor might have imposed would have taken away from the urgent personal sense we got. So, I'll take what we were given.

Re: Heartbreaking but poorly made documentary

I had to cringe at the monty pythonesque cutouts of an image of the judge's head with gibbering mouth.

Re: Heartbreaking but poorly made documentary

Well go and cringe elsewhere and **** yourself at the same time, yagawa - as it happens that device was the ideal way to portray the malevolent spite with which the Canadian authorities handled this case. Had there been no question of extraditing a canadian citizen (big fat hairy deal) to stand trial in the US I'm sure this matter would have been handled with more efficiency, greater expedition and far more fairness. The canadian authorities, particularly the so-called judge were determined that the devil b8tch woman would never fall into the hands of the US legal system, hence they allowed thqt innocent beautiful child to be murdered by the woman they released, rather then do the right thing. I USED TO THINK QUITE HIGHLY OF cANADA - NOW THEY CAN ALL GO TO HELL IMHO/

George… don't do that!

Re: Heartbreaking but poorly made documentary

"The canadian authorities, particularly the so-called judge were determined that the devil b8tch woman would never fall into the hands of the US legal system"

Ding ding, we have a winner. At times, Canada can be so juvenile (insecure and pig headed just like a teenager) in asserting its "sovereign nation" status, ie. "We'll show those big bad Americans they can't bully Canada".

I say this as a Canadian who loves this country, but we are world champs (2002-2010 gold medal winners) at navel gazing bureaucratic inefficiency. Its almost as if the Canadian authorities "deliberately" move at snails pace, so they can err on the side of indecision. Why make a decision today, when it can be delayed and delayed. After-all, the problem just might solve itself or better yet go away,if we just give it long enough.

The constant stream of canceled and moved extradition ruling dates by the Canadian authorities was the very definition of pathetic, and frustrating to witness for this viewer. I can only imagine how all this disgusted Andrew Bagby's parents.

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Yeah, it was a little sarcastic. But on the other hand: fitting. Thats what it must have been for the Bagbys: they must have felt like beeing in an Monty Pythons or Terry Gilliam film.

Same as with the constant repetition of that judges justification for setting Dr. Shirley Turner free the second time over the rapid cuts of already shown footage: It must have felt like the ground opening up beneath the Bagbys - and that conveyed it quite good, I think.

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Re: Heartbreaking but poorly made documentary

Nope, I certainly didn't see the same movie you did. The editing only helped in making the movie more gripping. I caught this by accident, and was totally engrossed in moments. I realize if I still lived in Pennsylvania (just outside Latrobe), I would have probably known about this horrific story.

I can't even really express what I feel about the series of events. That Kurt started out making one movie and that it turned into something almost unimaginable boggles my mind. I made it through the program in an almost clinical vein, until the last 15 minutes. It all fell apart after that. How one person could so totally destroy something so beautiful is the stuff of which only nightmares are made.

Otherwise, I need to absorb. I'm effectively speechless. Wonderfully made, horrifically made, an absolute stroke of circumstance that the movie we see was made at all.

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Go take a look at some of the reviews Kurt K received for this movie from PEOPLE WHO KNOW WHAT THEY ARE TALKING ABOUT, into which category you do not fall, ginsling. Get lost!!

George… don't do that!

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why is it that most of the people defending this film have less than ten (in some cases only one) postings on IMDb? strange… i was very interested in watching this but considering the director has nothing better to do than create sock puppet accounts my interest has waned.
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