"Dear Zachary" in Canada
Here's some news of interest if you are, like me, a fan of Kurt Kuenne and of his documentary, "Dear Zachary."
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Date: Wed, Oct 21, 2009 at 5:18 PM
Subject: "Dear Zachary" to premiere on CBC Newsworld in Canada on Oct. 25th
Kurt here; I hope 2009 has been treating you well. Just wanted to check in for those interested with an update on what's happening with "Dear Zachary" and the Canadian legislature:
MSNBC (who holds "Dear Zachary"'s North American TV license for the next three years) was kind enough to work out an arrangement with CBC Newsworld (Canada's #1 cable news channel, the approximate equivalent of what CNN is in the U.S.) that will allow "Dear Zachary" to be seen more in Canada. I had to trim the film by 24 minutes to fit the time slot offered me (a 90 minute slot with 25 minutes of commercials, hence 65 minutes of documentary content), but I realized that passing up an opportunity to reach more folks in the country I made the film for would be stupid, so I dug in and embraced it as a storytelling challenge; CBC was very happy with what resulted, and felt my new cut preserved the original film's emotional impact and message. I'm tremendously grateful to MSNBC for allowing this to happen, something they certainly did not have to facilitate, but they did so to help myself, Kate & David get the story heard more in Canada; the people there are pretty cool, let me just say that. :)
The new cut premieres in Canada on CBC Newsworld this Sunday, October 25th at 10 PM ET/PT, and will air there in rotation for the next two years while continuing in rotation on MSNBC. http://www.cbc.ca/documentaries/passionateeyeshowcase/2009/dearzachary/
I held a screening of "Dear Zachary" in Ottawa back in March to which all Members of Parliament were invited. Fewer people than I'd hoped for showed up, but the film managed to convince a couple of Parliamentarians to begin working on a bill to reform Canada's bail code. MP Scott Andrews of Newfoundland, with the support of Senator Tommy Banks of Alberta, has drafted a bill that he intends to introduce for its first reading in the House of Commons tomorrow (Thursday the 22nd) that would add a provision that would justify detaining a suspect in custody if they are a danger to their own minor children. Senator Banks will also simultaneously be distributing DVDs of "Dear Zachary" to all members of Parliament (I sent him 415 of them), so everyone who missed my screening will have a chance to see the film and consider its contents. I think it's a wonderful first step toward making things safer, and toward our eventual goal (denial of bail for murder suspects until trial, a law which would have saved Zachary's life); I'm tremendously grateful to MP Andrews and Senator Banks for their efforts and support on this front and I look forward to seeing how it unfolds and continues to move forward.
"Dear Zachary" won a few journalism awards for MSNBC this year: Best Documentary of 2008 from the Society of Professional Journalists, 3rd place in the documentary category of the National Headliner Awards and a CINE Golden Eagle.
Some of you know that NBC's Dateline produced an hour-long segment on "Dear Zachary", the case and its effect on Canadian politics earlier this year, but have been asking when it's going to be on. It has been postponed twice (it was supposed to air in June, then August) and is currently without a locked airdate, and may not air until January or February, I've been told...but I'll keep everyone posted as I'm informed. Who knows? All the recent activity may give them a new ending for their piece by the time it airs. :)
For my part, I wrote & directed a new feature film this summer called "Shuffle", starring my friend TJ Thyne (star of my short film "Validation" and of the hit TV show "Bones"), who also produced it with me; I just finished editing the film and am currently composing the score. I also recently closed an agreement with producer/author Frank Beddor to work as composer/lyricist in adapting his New York Times-Bestselling novel "The Looking Glass Wars" into a musical for the stage, so I'm gearing up to transition into that project full time as I complete work on "Shuffle" in the next couple of months. I'm a huge fan of Frank's book (I highly recommend it), it's a foray into new territory and a new medium for me about which I'm very excited, and a fun opportunity to flex more musical muscles. :)
I hope this email finds you all having a wonderful 2009!