Raised by a single mother in a rural New Hampshire town, 18-year-old Dawn Cowley has never known her Father, a source of tension between her and her Mother. Feeling angry and alone, Dawn spends her days barely holding on to any kind of self-worth working at a bait shack along the Connecticut River, and her nights turning tricks at a truck stop to earn extra money to escape a life she's longed to leave behind. One afternoon,
after an argument erupts between her and her Mother's boyfriend, Billy,
Dawn discovers a clue to finding her Father. She sets out in search of him
with an unflinching disregard for potential danger to ultimately discover
the devastating secret that had torn her family apart.
Why is this important to me? Why does this matter?
Well…In the fall of 2005 I set out to make my first feature film, THE SENSATION OF SIGHT. And I did. My producing partners and myself raised roughly a million dollars. The film starred David Strathairn, Ian Somerhalder, and Jane Adams among others. And it had a modest success. Especially since I was a self-taught filmmaker, simply with a love and passion for all things cinema. I had not been to film school. I had not directed a short. I had not directed a commercial. Nothing. And this feature was my first outing at the helm. My dive into deep waters. My beginning. It premiered on the festival circuit in the fall of 2006 at the San Sebastian International Film Festival and spent a year making its way around the world at other various festivals. By the end of 2007 it had found a home with a small distributor, Monterey Media. And by 2008 it worked its way into a dozen theatres nationally and eventually moved on to DVD, VOD and even a few international territories.
So at last, it was time to move on to the next project. Bigger and better. Or so I thought.
For the past four years I have been in development on a “larger” project. Attaching actors of note. Making the rounds. Doing the dog and pony show. Attempting to raise bigger dollars. Attempting to put my name on the map in a more significant way. And it was close to happening. Always close. But always distant somehow, as well. Just out of reach. Every time a positive word would come it would be accompanied by another word. A foreboding word. “No.” And the doors would close. And with each closing door I began to lose heart. I began to lose joy.
But, as is often the case with many, frustration began to give birth to inspiration. I realized that I needed to make something. The clouds weren’t just going to open and rain some wild success upon me. And I couldn’t just wait for big dollars and big names forever. I mean, after all, what if they never came? What would I do? What then? Cinema, the movies, is my love, my passion. How would I be able to find a way to continue to create?
And so with that in mind, I took a look at the world around me. And in May of 2012, I decided that come hell-or-high water I was going to get something made here in my state of New Hampshire. With whatever resources were available.
I asked a few friends to help me produce. But we had no money. So we quickly started a 12-day indiegogo campaign. We raised $20,000. I found a small group of actors with no film acting experience here in NH, who I believed had some talent to bring to the world. We put together a small skeleton crew all based in NH, many without any feature film experience, as well. And we set off for 10 days at the end of August 2012. Ambitious as hell. We knew. But willing and hungry to create. So away we went throwing all caution to the wind.
And we did it!
Now here it is, ONLY DAUGHTER, my new feature film. A simple story of an 18-year-old girl in search of the Father she has never known.
Yes. $20, 000, 10 days, 25 locations and a handful of cast and crew in the rural world of New Hampshire. Why is this so important to me? Why indeed?
Because it is raw and imperfect. Intimate and sincere. Strangely and profoundly beautiful to me. And it has re-ignited my heart and my joy. Truly, it is my hope that you, as well, will find some merit in this film. Something of impact. Something of beauty. And something worth sharing with the world.
- Aaron J. Wiederspahn