I never knew my dad. I hadn’t seen him since I was 22 months old. I had no memory of him. As a kid, I used to Google my father’s name every day. I never found any real results.
As an adult, I flew to Augsburg, Germany, which was the last place I knew he lived. My plan was to make a documentary.
Using a few scraps of information that my mother had, I went on a scavenger hunt of sorts, tracing his steps through the years by going to old addresses and asking questions. This eventually led to an apartment that I was pretty sure he lived in. He did, and we met. I didn’t film this meeting. It had been 28 years since we had had contact.
After meeting him, I flew back to LA and decided to cast actors to play me and my father, in order to re-create the moment that I met him. In the process of casting, I decided to switch places with the actress playing me: She became a director making a documentary on finding her dad, and I became her, an actress who flew to Germany to find someone else’s estranged parent. The result on screen led to an emotional convergence between her and me.
The third thrust of this project was adding a cinematic ending to the story. In real life, situations this complicated rarely have a clean ending. By making this a narrative film, I took the liberty of giving it my own ending that shares my takeaway from the experience of finding my dad, and where I am with the experience.
Please stay tuned, a private screening of this film will take place in May 2020 before I enter the piece into film festivals.
Director: Brit Phelan
DP: Brit Phelan, Fausta Phelan, and Lili Peper
Creative Studio: Little Known
Editor: Xander Mozejewski
VFX: Michael Miller
Colorist: Eric Schrecongost
Sound: Rob Dennler