A Fish Story Movie Review -- A Drama For the Heart


Winner at the 2013 International Family Film Festival, for Best Foreign Film Producer – runner up, as well as Best Director.

‘a fish story’, written, acted and produced by Sam Roberts, and directed by Matt Birman, tells the story of a family lost by tragedy and brought back together again through a miracle.  Soon to be screening on both Opening and Closing nights at the Woods Hole Film Festival in Cape Cod (July 27th – August 3rd), The Montreal World Film Festival (August 22nd – Sept. 3rd), and the Burbank International Film Festival (Sept 4-8), it's a must see. 


a fish story: the children find Eddie's body

The title ‘a fish story’ is very appropriate as it refers to a tale that fishermen tell each other.  You're never quite sure if their story is true or not. 


A fish story: Jane Stern ( Jayne Heitmeyer)

Based on events in his own life, the death of his father just days after he finishes building the promised fishing cabin and the torment the family goes through as they try to adjust to life on their own,  Sam started with the premise "Wouldn't it be wonderful if I could bring my dad back?’’  I like to believe that there is another place where we will, one day, see our loved ones again.  I tried to stay away from the film being too faith based, but it is very spiritual.  If I had a goal in mind, I would ask that the film touch people's hearts." 


A fish story: Eddie McClintock

The film very much does that.  In an effort to get the word out about the movie, Sam went to the local bereavement center and offered to do a fundraiser for them.  As a result, he raised enough to keep them going for another year.  During the filming, he had many people coming up to him telling him stories of experiences where they knew their loved ones were around. 


a fish story: Nick Stern (Sam Roberts) on his way to his new cabin

I loved the 'Ah-ha' moment when the kids realize that their dad really has come back to them.  Starring Eddie McClintock, who has gained fame in the Warehouse 13 series, the film also features actors Jayne Heitmeyer, Jamie Spilchuk, Steven Yaffee, Jordyn Negri, Patrick Collins, Carl Marotte, Angela Asher and of course, the writer/producer, Sam Roberts


Feeling lost in the world of business end of filmmaking, Sam wisely joined forces with Michael Mosca of Equinoxe Films.  Sam took the creative responsibilities while Michael took the business end of things.  Even so, breaking through proved tougher than they had thought it would.  Going to AFM (the American Film Market,) Sam found door after door slammed in his face.  The low budget movie did not have any stars attached and even though it was a tear jerker, the distributors there refused to look at it.  The movie, shot on 35mm film, with a moderate budget of 5 million, mostly raised from private funds, looks and feels much more expensive. 


a fish story: Charlie (Jordyn Negri) at her father's funeral

"I did the smartest thing I could do," Sam says.  "At the International Family Film Festival, I met Page Ostrow, of Ostrow and Company, a producer's representative."   Within two weeks of signing with Page, the movie, which he didn't think had a chance of being seen by the powers that be, now has a bidding war going with the possibility of a short theatrical run.  "Page shared a passion for the film and I, as a greenhorn, needed her guidance and expertise.  I'm so amazed at all the doors she's opened for us."  Michael Mosca, too, was amazed at the caliber of people who responded to Page's request.  Among those were Sony Pictures and USA network. 


a fish story: Hal Peyton (Patrick Collins)

Page, herself, says that the entire staff, upon seeing the film, were moved to tears.  "We began to share stories of our own loved ones and the comfort we took knowing the possibility of the other realm existed. This film lifts the spirit and feeds the soul.  Without a star, it's difficult to have a theatrical release, but this just might be the one that is different.  I hope soon we'll be announcing several deals for it. " 

A story with something in it for everyone, for anyone who has lost a loved one, this film deserves all the accolades it can receive. 


Sam, meanwhile, is busy working on a story about his mother, which will probably prove to be just as powerful. 


For more information about showings and events, go to A Fish Story the Movie.




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