Father Figure — Father’s Rights Documentary as Time Capsule (Review)

Father Figure is a documentary by Nick Szabo.  In many hours of searching the Internet, I had not been able to find access to a working copy of the video.  Fortunately, I managed to get in touch with Nick Szabo.  He responded and identified a working link to a YouTube video at which his full documentary, “Father Figure”, can be accessed. (More and link at the end of this blog posting)

Film  Review

DadsDivorce

Father’s Rights Documentary as Time Capsule

By Richard Ortiz

As fathers fight to remain in their children’s lives, time marches on. Recently Dan Cuneo, host of DadsDivorce Live had a chance to speak to Nick Szabo, producer and director of the 1998 documentary “Father Figure.”

The film, which is only available on the web, came to our attention several months ago (although it was actually created ten years ago), and after seeing it we had to find out more about this talented young amateur filmmaker.

Szabo described the impetus to create “Father Figure” as an opportunity to learn more about the mechanisms of divorce after having recently gone through a whirlwind breakup and feeling a bit amazed that while it took two to get married, it seemed to only require the will of one to initiate and carry out the divorce. The student took to the web to check out fathers rights websites, forums and blogs in an effort to learn more about the phenomenon of divorce in America, and what he found was a world in which men are routinely transformed, as it were, into paychecks to seemingly finance the destruction of their own families.

The film shows a macrocosmic as well as microcosmic take on the fallout from the destruction of a family unit. We are shown an America that is more and more becoming a land of woman-led households that are statistically, according to Szabo’s experts, more likely to encourage the children raised in this environment to be depressed, medicated, failing in school and society, addicted to welfare and other forms of entitlement, devoid of role-models and the values and feelings of self-worth that come with them. These children are more likely to be suicidal and abused, incarcerated and dropouts.

“Father Figure” shows us a who’s-who in the American Father’s Rights movement in the late 90’s with names such as Daniel Amneus (who has since passed away on Dec. 18, 2003) Warren Farrell, Heidi Nabert, Danny Guspie and others whose take on this crisis of paternity have become staples and required reading. Szabo’s film also shows us those who rose to the level of sad celebrity status such as [as of 2010 10 22, deleted as per personal request of the individual mentioned].

But Szabo also shows us fathers whose names we haven’t heard since, and whose faces remain obscure. Over ten years ago these men were broken by the system that they were then asked to finance. Each tells his own heartbreaking story of missing the children they loved more than anything in the world. The viewer can’t help but wonder what became of them and their relationships with their children.

In several emotional scenes, these fathers break down as they send out hopeful messages to the children they love and miss. These men show sincerity and anguish as they recount their experiences of feeling their children pulled away from them as they pay both financially and emotionally for the shattering of their families.

Nick Szabo’s film capably shows the problems with being a divorced father in America ten years ago. If one looks back and searches for the progress we have made in the ten years since its release we can only predict a grim future for our nation if we don’t start taking the role of men in relation to their children seriously. We recommend it highly.

For more alimony and child custody information go to http://www.dadsdivorce.com (Note 1, 2018 07 08: Link to archived web page)

To see the interview with Nick Szabo go to: http://www.dadsdivorce.com/blog/DadsDivorce-Live-Father-Figure-.html (Note 2, 2018 07 08: The video at the indicated link is not viewable.)

To see his film, “Father Figure” go to: http://fatherfigurevideo.com/ (Note 3, 2018 07 08: The video at the indicated links is not viewable. To view the documentary,  use this link to a copy of the documentary at YouTube. You may wish to access a working copy of a transcript of the audio portion of the video.)


“I was engaged to a young woman.  She apparently went to a fertility doctor without my consent or knowledge, obtained a drug called Clomid, and then  apparently got in bed with me and gave birth to twins.  I thought that there were laws and legislation dealing with these issues, but I found out later on  that there were not.  I furthermore found out that fathers, ostensibly, have no rights.  Custody was out of the question.  They’re more interested in getting  money from me and maintaining this woman on the welfare system and giving her grants for school than actually giving the children a stable home and a stable  lifestyle….”

“We’re seeing in the American African community, as today, from 1932 to 1957, black students led all other students in academic standing in the city of Los  Angeles.  We are including wealthy whites, we are including the Asian population, we’re including the Latino population.  Los Angeles has always been a  multicultural area.  It has never been any different.  And yet how could it be in the middle of segregation these young black students led everybody else?   We’re talking about Ralph Bunche here, we’re talking bout Jackie Robinson, we’re talking about Tom Bradley, and, yes, Johnnie Cochran and people of this  nature rising up during this period of time.  How is this possible?  I discussed this issue with many of the people in my neighborhood.  What I found out was  interesting.  More than 90 percent of those homes were being father ran. Even when the father did not live with the mother, if the child was born  illegitimately, the father still was involved in the child’s life and ran the household and you still had to respect him.  We have found from 1967 to the  present time that motherhood and mothers had been in place in charge of the American‑African household in Los Angeles.  To wit, today the black child’s  academic standard is below everyone in the state.  It is the lowest in the state.  There can only be one reason for this, and one reason alone is that the  father has been extricated from the home, his discipline, his direction is no longer there.  And therefore, there is no reason for the child to achieve or to  even be ambitious, because it’s accustomed to seeing someone get something for nothing.  This is exactly what has to be stopped.”

—LeRoy Marshall, Los Angeles,
Coalition to Protect the Family 
in Father Figure, @ 14:50


Note 4, 2018 07 08: A bit of success, a link to a working video of the trailer to ‘Father Figure’, at – you’ll never guess – the FB page of Nicholas Szabo!

Note 5, 2018 07 13: Nicholas Szabo got in touch with me today.  He provided a link to a working copy of the video of his documentary:

  • This is a “must see” (off-site): Nicholas Szabo’s documentary, “Father Figure” (1998), YouTube video, 1 hour 39 minutes

Comment by F4L: Richard Ortiz’ review is right on.  Here are links to additional information:

  • [as of 2010 10 22, deleted as per personal request of the individual mentioned]
  • Information on books by Daniel Amneus:

#FatherFigure #NicholasSzabo #NickSzabo

See also:

This entry was posted in Civil Rights, Divorce, Feminism, Judiciary, Men's Issues, Paternal Rights, Women's Violence. Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Father Figure — Father’s Rights Documentary as Time Capsule (Review)

  1. My mother and a brother have now watched this film as well. They too were appalled to learn about the many extremely sad and unjust stories portrayed in this film. My brother is an extremely savvy and current events man with an extreme thirst for politics so the exposing of the dangers of the feminist movement were not news to him. The statement in this film that it is imperative for men to band together to stop the injustices of the feminist movement is not lost on me and I will continue to trust that my prayers and my mind will couple together to create effective avenues for spreading the stories and messages of Mr. Szabo’s film and for hopefully helping creating impetus for the beginning of “The League of Men Voters”.

  2. I have watched Nick Szabo’s film “Father Figure” many times. Currently I am suffering through a very contentious divorce and this film has helped me make more sense of my current situation than any other source. I have tried to convince many others to watch this documentary and so far have been able to convince only one family member to do so. She was horrified by the facts reported in this film and has done her best to convince the rest of my family to do so – with no success. Every time my family inquires, “How can they do this?” I ask them to view this film so they can understand.

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