Private Project


After being handcuffed to a canoe, James has no choice but to spend quality time with his dad.

  • Tim Young
    Broad City (Web Series)
  • Tim Young
    Broad City (Web Series)
  • Jeff Ryan
    Nailed It, Wicked Christian
  • Brian Haley
    Key Cast
    Gran Torino, Baby's Day Out, Little Giants, The Departed
  • Jeff Ryan
    Key Cast
    Orange is the New Black, The Way Way Back, Turn: Washington Spies, Nailed It
  • Christine Ng (DP)
    Everything is Copy: Nora Ephron Scripted and Unscripted, The Widowers
  • Elaine Strutz (Associate Producer)
    Get Action, Killing Fields, Say Yes to the Dress
  • Project Type:
  • Runtime:
    6 minutes 15 seconds
  • Completion Date:
    September 30, 2015
  • Production Budget:
    3,500 USD
  • Country of Origin:
    United States
  • Country of Filming:
    United States
  • Language:
  • Shooting Format:
  • Aspect Ratio:
  • Film Color:
  • First-time Filmmaker:
  • Student Project:
  • Palm Beach International Film Festival
    Palm Beach, FL
    United States
    April 8, 2016
    Florida Premiere
  • IFF Boston
    Boston, MA
    United States
    April 30, 2016
    New England Premiere
  • NewFilmmakers LA
    Los Angeles, CA
    United States
    January 14, 2017
    West Coast Premiere
Director Biography - Tim Young

Tim Young is a filmmaker whose work has been featured by the Wall Street Journal, Gawker, and the Huffington Post. He has written and directed several projects for the web, including the original Broad City web-series (now on Comedy Central). After 13 years in New York, he recently moved to Los Angeles, where he spends his time unpacking, as well as writing, improvising, and cooking.

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Director Statement

Bonding is a film about relationships and what really ties us to another person, with an absurd twist. On the surface, Dad's enthusiasm for the canoe trip seems to be a wholesome remedy to his and James’ fading father-son relationship. But when his cuffs click onto James’s wrist, we begin to see in his twisted actions the deep desperation and the need to be understood that is behind the very notion of love. What is the line between love and desperation?

When I was developing this story with producer/star Jeff Ryan, we initially conceived it as a straightforward drama that would tackle this type of father-son dynamic – sans handcuffs. But only when we hit on the idea of adding an absurd layer to the plot, of making the subtext into text, did the story really come together. Adding the device of the handcuffs allowed us to make this a comedy and also, in an oblique fashion, tackle some meaty issues.

James objects to being cuffed, not just because it’s inherently crazy, but because that’s not how you’re supposed to treat someone that you love. Dad disagrees on principle: if you really love someone, you have to prove that you are unwilling to let that love die. You have to be desperate. Once James understands this, he’s finally able to connect with his father.

But is that connection real, or is James doing what he has to do to win his freedom? His actions later in the film – first by turning the tables on his father, then by taking drastic measures to prove his love to his girlfriend – provide potential answers to this question. But it was important to me that it be ambiguous. Yes, James is escaping his father, but I do think the understanding they come to is real. And in understanding his father, James learns something about himself. He too is eager to prove his love and willing to take bold, dangerous steps to do so. Like his father, he mistakenly believes that his good intentions justify his selfish, controlling actions.

Despite the silly surface trappings of the movie, the questions at the core of the movie are real. How do you make someone understand you love them? Are you doomed to repeat the same flawed behavior as your parents? I hope audiences will appreciate these ideas and laugh at the over-the-top, unhinged behavior on display in Bonding.