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'A Fish Story' Helps the Bereaved Heal the Pain in Pound Ridge

by Rich Monetti 3 years ago in movie

Independent Film by Sam Roberts is a Tale of Healing and Redemption


The death of Sam Roberts’ father in 1985 left the Pound Ridge resident an angry young man. On the other hand, it wasn’t long before he started to channel his grief, and a screenplay soon emerged. Reaching the tail end of the story meant a long journey against the current, though, and the film didn't make it into the can until 2013. Successes in a number of film festivals followed, and A Fish Story just secured a distributor. So it can now be found on Netflix and in 3,000 Walmart stores. Of course, having a Hollywood star attached to the credits would certainly make mass consumption much easier. But Roberts has come to realize that the healing nature of the film might not have come across as easily with that type of familiarity.

“People wouldn’t relate to it as well if they recognize the face on the screen. That’s a Hollywood barrier,” said the Canadian native. “Instead, the viewer can feel like it’s their story or how they felt, and invites itself into your heart.”

A True Story

Unfortunately, his family skipped more than a beat when serendipity played a cruel hand. “My dad always wanted to build a cabin in the Quebec wilderness where we grew up, and the night he finished,” said Roberts, “he died.”

Serving as an homage to his father and set in his beloved surroundings, A Fish Story’s family must suddenly follow the flows and eddies that shift when the patriarch is killed in a car accident. “Each character in the movie has their own journey,” said Roberts who plays the father.

Like his real family, guilt, pain, resentment, and loss all rise to the top and must be resolved. “The thing about death and loss is you can’t prepare for it,” said Roberts. “It either immobilizes you or you turn it into a positive that makes you stronger.”

A Faithful Film

Receiving awards at the Moondance International Film Festival, the Burbank International Film Festival, and the Canadian International Film Festival, A Fish Story lets movie magic lend a hand. “This is not a faith-based movie but a faithful film. The father cannot find heaven until he realizes life is for the living and must let go of his family—despite their pain,” said Roberts who works as a voiceover actor and spent 14 years with TNT.

The criminal who causes the crash provides the way and earns redemption. “Eddie feels he’s done nothing with his life and has the opportunity to give the father a second chance,” said Roberts of Eddie McClintock who has numerous TV credits on shows like Castle, Supergirl and Modern Family.

Along the way, the ten-year-old daughter, who doesn’t understand guilt and redemption and just misses her father, gives the viewer pause as they wait for “Nick’s” reprieve. “She is the bright light and keeps the audience hopeful,” he said.

High Hopes to Heal

Roberts holds a similar glimmer that maybe the likes of an Oprah or Ellen will also see the light in his telling. “Someone of that stature who has nothing to gain but helping people,” Roberts said would be a great boost.

The travels the film has made provides the proof. “The most interesting part of this journey for me is during the Q&As at film festivals,” said Roberts. “The conversation always turns to people who lost someone, and they tell me how the film has helped heal their heart.”

He hasn’t let this elixir go to waste either. “I contacted the Bereavement Center of Westchester and rented out the Bedford Playhouse to screen the movie,” said Roberts. “We raised $35,000 last year.”

A Fish Story had a similar overflow at the Ridgefield Playhouse. “We packed the house with 500 people,” he said, and the idea of doing a healing hearts tour for bereavement centers all over the country has his hopes a flutter.

Nonetheless, Roberts still knows he must temper his aspirations for the long haul. “It’s a slow climb, but I know this film is like the little engine that could,” he asserts.

And that’s a tale worth of waiting for.

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Rich Monetti

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