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The film is a personal documentary about the murder of his best friend and expresses his rant against the Canadian justice system for coddling the murderer who is a dangerous sociopath.
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It is impossible not to be fired up by Kurt Kuenne’s incredibly documentary “Dear Zachary: A Letter to a Son About His Father.” The film is a personal documentary about the murder of his best friend and expresses his rant against the Canadian justice system for coddling the murderer who is a dangerous sociopath.
On Nov. 5, 2001, Mr. Kuenne’s oldest friend from childhood, Andrew Bagby, a doctor doing his residency in Latrobe, Pa., was shot to death in a parking lot. The killer, Shirley Turner, Andrew’s mentally unstable, Canadian-born ex-girlfriend, immediately fled the United States to live in St. John’s, Newfoundland, where she successfully fought attempts at extradition. Pregnant with Andrew’s child at the time of the killing, she gave birth to a baby boy, Zachary, on July 18, 2002.
“Dear Zachary” was conceived as a cinematic scrapbook for Zachary consisting of home movies Mr. Kuenne made with his friend Andrew and loving reminiscences by Andrew’s family and friends, all of whom attest to what a wonderful, generous, life-loving fellow he was. The impact of the film and the following it attracted resulted was a change in the Canadian Bail Reform Law.
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Dear Zachery has been hailed as one of the top 100 documentaries of all times.
Kurt Kuenne is an award-winning filmmaker and composer of both fiction and documentary films. He is a winner of the AMPAS Nicholls Fellowship in Screenwriting who studied at the University of Southern California’s School of Cinematic Arts, where he won the Harold Lloyd Scholarship in Film Editing. His films include the teen drama “Scrapbook” (1999), for which he was named one of the top 25 new faces of indie film by Filmmaker Magazine, the documentary “Drive-In Movie Memories” (2001), which premiered at the Telluride Film Festival before running nationally on PBS, and the popular short film series of “Rent-A-Person”, “Validation”, “Slow” and “The Phone Book”, which played more than 130 festivals around the world, winning more than 40 awards. His documentary “Dear Zachary” premiered at the Slamdance Film Festival in 2008, was released by Oscilloscope Laboratories and MSNBC, and was named one of the top 5 documentaries of the year by the National Board of Review. It was responsible for the creation of Bill C-464 in Canadian Parliament, which became law in December 2010, and was recently named one of the top 100 documentaries of all time by PBS POV. His most recent feature film, “Shuffle” (2011), starring TJ Thyne of TV’s “Bones”, played over two dozen film festivals, winning a dozen awards including the Frank Capra Award; it was released in 2012 by Screen Media Films. His work as composer also includes re-scoring the silent classic “Cyrano de Bergerac” (1925) and adapting Frank Beddor’s bestselling novel “The Looking Glass Wars” into a musical for the stage.