Universal Cable Prods has acquired the rights to Kurt Kuenne’s documentary Dear Zachary: A Letter To A Son About His Father to develop it as a miniseries. Sean Perrone and Aaron Kaplan of Kaplan/Perrone will executive produce the project, with Kuenne serving as a consultant as well as co-executive producing alongside Josh Braun. A search is underway for a writer.
“Dear Zachary is a beautiful, suspenseful, and ultimately gut wrenching journey about a family that pulls at your heartstrings”, said Dawn Olmstead, UCP’s EVP, Development.
Dear Zachary is a haunting tribute to a fallen friend, Andrew Bagby, which highlights failures within Canada’s legal system. Bagby was allegedly murdered by former girlfriend Shirley Jane Turner who gave birth to their child, Zachary, while on trial. After she was sent to jail, Bagby’s parents obtained full custody of Zachary, which they were later forced to share with Turner when she successfully appealed and was released, despite ample evidence that she may be mentally and emotionally disturbed. She went on to kill herself and 13-month Zachary.
Kuenne interviewed numerous relatives, friends and associates of Andrew and weaved their loving memories into a film that would go on to serve as a cinematic scrapbook for Andrew’s infant son, Zachary. The film, originally intended only for the family before getting public release, was instrumental in amending Canada’s criminal code in December 2010. Here is the trailer:
“For six years, I’ve turned down overtures to dramatize this story because I didn’t think such a production needed to exist, but the number of people who’ve written me to say this story changed their life made me realize that bringing it to a wider audience might do a lot of good, as long as the story was told with humanity, dignity and honesty,” said Kuenne. “I look forward to working with Universal Cable Productions along with Aaron Kaplan and Sean Perrone to produce an artful dramatization of the a highest quality.”
Kuenne, repped by Brian Lutz Management, is an Academy Nicholl Fellowship-winning writer/director/composer whose work also includes the Frank Capra Award-winning feature Shuffle and the award-winning short Validation. He co-wrote and edited the upcoming documentary Batkid Begins: The Wish Heard Around The World, which will bow in early 2015.