Sunday, Nov. 23: Vrij Nederland sponsor screening. The Dutch newspaper selected seven films from the festival to show to its subscribers in an all-day marathon, and “Forgetting Dad” was one of them. It was the first public screening ever, and the sold-out crowd of about 300 people at the Pathé Munt 11 were very interested. The Q & A was quite emotional, as I suspected it would be, and I realized that it’s not going to be easy for me to present the film to audiences without getting choked up.
Afterwards, several people came up to me to tell me their stories. The most moving one was from a woman who witnessed her husband’s decline into mental illness, but was unable to help. Three years ago, he committed suicide, leaving behind his wife and their four children. The woman told me that seeing “Forgetting Dad” made her feel like she’s not alone in her pain. It seems that the film goes beyond simply telling my family’s story and has a kind of universal message about loss that many people can relate to, as we were hoping it would throughout the long, difficult process of making the film. As a filmmaker, it’s always difficult to know how the film will affect people, but it seems to be giving a message of hope and comfort to people suffering similar types of emotional trauma.