(With Dear Zachary arriving in theaters this weekend, we're rerunning our review from Slamdance)
By: Erik Davis
I don't know how to review this film. It's so personal, so emotional and so powerful that if I dedicate a paragraph to a few technical issues, it would completely take away from the fact that this was one of the best documentaries I have ever watched in my entire life. Following the Slamdance premiere of Dear Zachary, I asked my friend if the director had also submitted to Sundance. Apparently, he did. How or why Sundance did not accept this doc is beyond me. And here's a note to any programmer from any fest reading this review: Play this film. And here's a note to anyone looking to purchase a doc to distribute and whatnot: Buy this film. I don't work for a studio, thus I'm not keen on all the politics involved, but I guarantee if this doc was picked up by, say, HBO, it would change lives immediately. (Note: It has since been picked up by MSNBC Films and Oscilloscope Laboratories)
Matt Dentler made a good point over on his blog. While briefly talking about the film, he said, "I'm not going to link its Web site for a reason: this is a documentary you need to experience with as little advanced knowledge as possible. You just need to know it's worth seeing, and will probably grip you tight from the very beginning. But, like so many festival films, it hits you hardest when you go into it knowing very little." And I completely agree, which is why I won't go into too many details after the jump.