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Today we launched the crowdfunding campaign for the Father’s Day Film Tour and DVD release of FORGETTING DAD. We aim to raise $6000 on IndieGoGo by July 10, 2011 to cover the production of the deluxe-edition DVD, new promotional materials and travel expenses related to Rick’s tour of California.

Even though Rick was born and raised in California and most of FORGETTING DAD was shot there, it has never been publicly screened there. But this is about to change. The California premiere will take place as part of the prestigious USC Summer Film Series on Father’s Day, June 19th. Rick will then tour around the state for two weeks. Click here for a list of screenings.

We’ve got lots of fun VIP perks like DVDs, free tickets, posters, private screenings and scrumptious cupcakes and cakes baked by my niece Yasi. So check out the campaign, come out to see the film, spread the word through all your networks, and make a donation if you can. Thanks!

David Spiegel, M.D.

Psychiatrist David Spiegel M.D., Willson Professor and Associate Chair of Psychiatry & Behavioral Sciences,
Director of the Center on Stress and Health at Stanford University School of Medicine, recently wrote with his reaction to FORGETTING DAD. He called it “very touching and thoughtful” and gave us this attribution:

“Forgetting Dad” is a carefully crafted, thought-provoking family mystery story about memory. It reminds us that remembering can be even more painful than forgetting. It provokes questions in seeking answers. We all need to figure out who our parents are, and this becomes a lot harder when they don’t seem to know that themselves. Well worth watching.”

Dr. Spiegel is one of the world’s leading experts on stress-related health disorders and dissociation. He evaluated my father in 1992. His evaluation is one of two which my step-sister Lora discovered in the courthouse file while we were making the film. Dr. Spiegel subsequently gave us an excellent interview, which we decided not to use in the film because it explains too much what’s most likely going on inside my father’s head. Rather than explaining amnesia, Matt and I decided to focus on how my family have experienced what’s been going on with my father. Excerpts of the interview with Dr. Spiegel as well as the interview with Stanford neurologist Michael Greicius will, however, be available on the deluxe-edition DVD coming out June 19th.

Composer Ari Benjamin Meyers, left, attends the Berlinale with filmmakers Matt Sweetwood and Rick Minnich. Photo by Monika Mueller-Kroll for NPR


Check out this two-minute report by Monika Mueller-Kroll with discussion with directors Rick Minnich and Matt Sweetwood and composer Ari Benjamin Meyers on the occasion of the “Forgetting Dad” screening at the Berlin Film Festival, Feb. 2011. It was broadcast on National Public Radio NPR Berlin at 11:32 pm on Friday, 18 February and Monday and Tuesday, 21 + 22 February.

What a pleasant surprise it was to find out that “Forgetting Dad” was invited to screen in a new section of the Berlin International Film Festival called “Lola@Berlinale.” Here you can see all the films on the shortlist for this year’s German Film Award, the German equivalent of the Academy Awards.

Matt Sweetwood outside the CinemaxX 1 before the "Forgetting Dad" screening


Justin in an early scene from "Forgetting Dad"

Justin in an early scene from "Forgetting Dad"


This was the first time in ages that the entire crew gathered together to take a bow and enjoy all the fine receptions we were invited to. It was surprising to see so many people in the audience come to see a film which is now over two years old, but who’s complaining? Judging from the Q & A that followed, where Matt, Ari and Rick did their thing, the film is still moving audiences in strange and mysterious ways.
Composer Ari, director of photography Axel, distributor Stephan, directors Rick and Matt, producer Olaf (front)

Composer Ari, director of photography Axel, distributor Stephan, directors Rick and Matt, producer Olaf (front)


Thanks to Heinz Badewitz for organizing the new Lola section and for his nice introduction. And thanks to all the other kind people at the Berlinale who made us feel welcome. It was a delight to receive some recognition on our own turf.

A fun podcast

Tim Schomacker

Tim Schomacker

I haven’t done a podcast for a while, and got a kick out of doing one yesterday. Bremen-based writer, journalist, radio producer and musician Tim Schomacker took the time to watch some of my films and come up with some questions that really got me thinking about what I’ve dedicated my life to doing – telling stories. His introduction is an astute analysis of the nature of memory (the theme of this year’s “35th Literary Week” in Bremen, Germany which Tim is covering at length) and a reflection upon the common threads that make up my film work. It’s a rare occasion that a journalist puts such effort into a piece, and makes me look at my work with fresh eyes and from a slightly different perspective. It was especially fun to talk about one of my youthful sins – the short film “The Book of Lenins,” which continues to attract attention fifteen years after its completion (who would have ever thought that?)
So for any of you who speak German and want to spend 45 minutes listening to me rambling about my filmmaking career thus far, interspersed with some clever observations from Tim, tune in here (podcast #7, also available for download).
Thanks again, Tim, for the pleasant conversation!

Back to alma mater

Today Matt and I returned to my old film school, the Film & Television Academy “Konrad Wolf” in Potsdam-Babelsberg, to discuss “Forgetting Dad” with some first-year film students right after they’d watched the film. I hadn’t stepped foot inside the school in years, but everything looked just the same.

It was a bit difficult to gage the students reactions. They seemed a bit overwhelmed by the film and by our presence. Or maybe they were simply too young to be able to fully digest the film. Our most appreciative audiences tend to be people who are old enough to have kids and grandkids of their own or to have suffered the loss of a parent.

For what it was worth, it was great to put in another joint appearance and to have the opportunity to reflect upon this little beast that we launched slightly over two years ago. Thanks to Marie Wilke for inviting us to talk to her students!

We just found out today, that “Forgetting Dad” is one of twelve films to be shortlisted for the German Film Prize (Lola) – the German equivalent of the Oscar – in the documentary category. Now the 1300 members of the German Film Academy will select the two nominations, which will receive a sizable amount of funding for new projects. The nominees will be announced on 11 March.

Meanwhile, all shortlisted films will screen next month in the new section of the Berlin International Film Festival “German Cinema – LOLA@Berlinale,” which is part of the European Film Market.

Here is a complete list of all shortlisted films (documentary, narrative, children’s film).