“Dad, you were weak, and kind of a shithead” begins a son’s impromptu living-room eulogy to his dead father. “Now you’re a box of ashes, that, uh, also doubles as a coaster.” Wholly original, Ken J. Adachi’s spirited family drama follows three adult children reunited by their father’s unexpected death, and the slow, faltering steps they take to become a family again. Tall and calm but a bit off the beat, drummer Russell Sawtelle (Kyle Arrington) stayed near home to care for his ailing father, and now must organize his funeral. Having left town years ago, his more organized adopted brother Alex (Lucas K. Peterson) and even-more-scattered little sister Jane (Jenni Melear) return for the ceremonies, and soon the threesome are back in childhood mode, goofing off and laughing, then fighting over what to do next. Meanwhile, their father’s ashes still wait in the living room, in a cookie jar converted into a half-assed urn.
“Do you wanna deal with this? Nah, me neither,” chortle two eye-rolling friends after witnessing the sibling’s drama, but the strength of Adachi’s penetrating script is how it dismantles such hipster attitudes. Aided by a pulsating soundtrack, some restless camerawork and powerhouse performances by the three leads, Dead Dad illustrates the halting steps these grown children must take to “deal with this,” and truly become adults.
Executive Producer: Ken Adachi, Jason Ambler, Stephen Hansen, Adam Varney, Monte Young
Producer: Kelly Calligan, Ben Hethcoat
Cinematographer: Eric Bader
Writer: Ken Adachi, Kyle Arrington
Editor: Eric Ekman
Cast: Kyle Arrington, Jenni Melear, Lucas K. Peterson, Allyn Rachel