Dodgson (2019)

Upon the discovery of his estranged father’s death, a jaded therapist with a severe speech impairment is forced to confront former childhood traumas. The event suddenly unearths a slew of latent emotions which triggers the return of his stutter, drastically affects his behavior and forces him to contemplate the unresolved issues from his past. Along the way, he adopts a fresh and unorthodox method of treatment, which motivates him to interact with his patients in a far more genuine way. Through the intimate portrayal of a brilliant, yet reclusive psychologist with a troubled history, this film explores the paradoxical influence that trauma has on human behavior, as well as the curative powers of therapy, self-acceptance, and forgiveness.

  • Dan Michael
    Director
  • Dan Michael
    Writer
  • Dan Michael
    Producer
  • Billy Cadden
    Producer
  • Alex Scigliano
    Producer
    The Midnight Bounty, Fratelli Breaks
  • Elizabeth Officer
    Key Cast
    “Alice Dodge”
  • Danny Schwarz
    Key Cast
    “Charlie”
    Taking New York, Growing Up, Crescent
  • Ian Lowe
    Key Cast
    “Pat”
    Pose, Job Interviewing Made Easy
  • Laura Kiser
    Key Cast
    “Allison”
    Terrortory, Smart Guys, We Are Stars
  • Steven Gamble
    Key Cast
    “Frank”
    Phantom Mary, One More Thing, Evil Talks: Chilling Confessions,
  • Tim Shelburne
    Key Cast
    “Roger Dodge”
    RWBY, Tough Love, Prolific Artists
  • Willoughby Pyle
    Key Cast
    “Young Isaac”
    The Miseducation of Cameron Post, The Dead Don't Die, Crypto, Life Like, Skin, Then Came You, Cold in July, King Cobra
  • Alex Scigliano
    Key Cast
    “Isaac Dodge”
    The Midnight Bounty, Fratelli Breaks
  • Marcus Scigliano
    Key Cast
    “Lewis Liddell”
    The Midnight Bounty, Fratelli Breaks
  • Jimmy C. Xie
    Director of Photgraphy/Colorist
    Poets in Person, Mystery Mansion, Body to Body
  • Alex Scigliano
    Editor
    The Midnight Bounty, Fratelli Breaks
  • Bernard Feinsod
    VFX Artist
  • Sergio Trejos
    Sound Engineer
  • Heidi Eklund
    Casting Director
    The Miseducation of Cameron Post, The Dead Don't Die, Crypto, Life Like, Skin, Then Came You, Frances Ha, Cold in July, King Cobra, The Pretenders,
  • Hudson Valley Casting, LLC.
    Casting Department
    The Miseducation of Cameron Post, Life Like, The Mountain, Mob Town, A Bread Factory, Part One
  • Anne Umana
    Musical Score/Soundtrack
  • Juliana Silveira
    Animator
  • Film Type:
    Short, Student
  • Genres:
    drama, short, comedy
  • Runtime:
    21 minutes 15 seconds
  • Completion Date:
    March 22, 2019
  • Production Budget:
    15,000 USD
  • Country of Origin:
    United States
  • Country of Filming:
    United States
  • Film Language:
    English
  • Shooting Format:
    RED
  • Aspect Ratio:
    1.85
  • Film Color:
    Color
  • First-time Filmmaker:
    Yes
  • Student Project:
    Yes
  • Hoboken International Film Festival

    Best Short Film/Official Selection
  • Hunter Mountain Film Festival

    Best Short Film/Best Actor/Official Selection
  • Fine Cuts Invitational Film Show

    Best Short Film/Official Selection
  • New York Shorts International Film Festival

    Official Selection
  • Aphrodite Film Awards

    Semi-Finalist: Best Fiction Short Film/Official Selection
  • The IndieFEST Film Awards

    Award of Excellence: Film Short/Official Selection
  • Burbank International Film Festival

    Semi-Finalist: Best Short Film/Official Selection
  • Benicia Film Festival

    Official Selection
  • Festival of Cinema NYC

    Nominated For Best Director/Nominated For Best Actor/Official Selection
  • SAFILM - San Antonio Film Festival

    Official Selection
  • VOB Film Festival

    Official Selection
  • Las Vegas International Film & Screenwriting Competition

    Winner: Best Short Film/Official Selection
  • Chain NYC Film Festival

    Official Selection
  • Flickers' Rhode Island International Film Festival

    Official Selection
  • Borderscene Film Festival

    Official Selection
  • San Jose International Short Film Festival

    Official Selection
  • Mystic Film Festival

    Official Selection
  • Sioux City International Short Film Festival

    Official Selection
  • Kansas International Film Festival

    Official Selection
  • Boston Film Festival

    Official Selection
  • Accolade Global Film Competition

    Award of Excellence: Film Short/Official Selection
Director Biography - Dan Michael

Manhattan based Writer and Director. The adopted son of two clinical psychologists, Daniel was born and raised outside Boston, Massachusetts. He attended Hofstra University from 2007-2011 and graduated with Bachelor's Degrees in both Film Studies and in Marketing. Daniel received his Master's Degree in Media Studies and Film Production from The New School in May of 2019.

Add Director Biography
Director Statement

This film explores the paradoxical influence that trauma has on human behavior, as well as the remedial potentials of therapy, self-acceptance, and forgiveness.

Born and raised outside Boston, Massachusetts as the adopted son of two clinical psychologists, I draw a great deal of creative inspiration from the traumatic upbringing of my father and the painful genesis behind his desire to pursue a career in psychology. For all of his own imperfections, my father has always believed in the curative powers of therapy. The two of us are similar in this respect...

I spent most my childhood and adolescent years unaware of the psychoanalytical approaches to parenting that my mother and father implemented while raising me. Growing up I was a shy boy, always trying my best to avoid situations that involved public speaking, often stammering out of anxiety whenever forced into doing so. To this day, I tend to quiver at the prospect of having to stand up in front of others and verbally present myself. Having said this, as I continued to develop my story, the more I wished to create a narrative that explored the harsh realities faced by those afflicted by mental illnesses and speech disorders. After months of R&D, countless internet searches, daily calls to my parents and weekly sit-ins with group speech-therapy sessions, I finally came to realize just how intrinsically human it all was. How fundamentally universal certain things like stress, trauma, depression and anxiety are.

The film's protagonist, Isaac Dodge, is a complex character who exhibits an array of universally resonant sensibilities (e.g., harboring pains of unresolved traumas, possessing an innate desire to help others incapable of doing so, even at the neglect of his own well-being, etc.)

Collectively speaking, I view those who suffer from speech-fluency disorders as some of the most remarkably brave and beautiful people on the planet. The months of arduous research I spent developing the film's characters have taught me many things. I’ve learned how often people misunderstand each other because they are too impatient to offer their opinion and have not listened attentively enough to others. To consider deeply someone else's worldview without inserting your own. It has shown me just how much humans seek to be understood and just how often language is insufficient to make people understand... It's not how you say things, but what you say, that matters.

I think that life is about choices. I believe at any given moment in our lives we are three bad decisions away from a shit storm. I think that when we are in a shit storm, we are three good choices away from getting out of it. I think it's really hard to see that out sometimes. I think there are people who see both at the same time and they are well-balanced, grateful people. I think to be grateful you have to be aware of the fact that it could all go away tomorrow.

In the end, we all have something to draw from...