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Dear Zachary: A Letter to a Son About His Father - Movie Review

More Than A Memorial

About.com Rating 3.5 Star Rating


Filmmaker Kurt Kuenne set out to make a memorial about his best friend, Dr. Andrew Bagby, with the intention of giving the tribute to Dr. Bagby‘s son, Zachary, so the boy--unborn at the time of Dr. Bagby‘s brutal murder, would know about the father whom he would never be able to meet.

Documenting The Results of a Harrowing Crime

Dr. Bagby had been brutally murdered in a parking lot in Western Pennsylvania in November of 2001. Shortly after his death, the prime suspect, his ex-girlfriend Dr. Shirley Turner, fled from the United States to St. John‘s, Newfoundland, Canada, where she announced that she was pregnant with the slain Dr. Bagby‘s child and shortly thereafter delivered Zachary.

Kuenne was shocked when the when Shirley Turner was released on bail in Canada and given custody of Zachary while she was awaiting extradition to the United States. The film shifted in focus, as Kuenne turned his cameras on Zachary's grandparents, David & Kathleen Bagby, and their desperate fight to wrest custody of their son’s son from the women they believed had murdered their son.

Kuenne’s impeccable cinema verite style brings us to the heart of this true life crime story. The story moves in unexpected directions as he records it, and what we see is quite compelling and equally heartbreaking.

Film Details:

  • Release Date: October 31, 2008 (NY; LA release: Nov. 7)
  • Running Time: 96 mins.
  • Studio: MSNBC Films / Oscilloscope Pictures
  • MPAA Rating: Not Available
  • Parental Guidance: Advisory for Content
  • Country: USA
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