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
To see the interview with Nick Szabo go to: http://www.dadsdivorce.com/blog/DadsDivorce-Live-Father-Figure-.html
To see his film, “Father Figure” go to: http://fatherfigurevideo.com/
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: