It takes a certain amount of fortitude and patience to make a documentary – and even more when it’s about your family and their repressed secrets. Chico Colvard’s feature-length film, “Family Affair,” is a prime example. It’s a story about him and his family – and acts of abuse, betrayal and ultimately forgiveness.
The story begins in 1978 when Colvard was 10 and accidentally shot one of his sisters in the leg. Believing she was going to die, the sister told her mother and, later, the authorities that she and her two sisters had been sexually abused by their father.
That’s just the beginning, Colvard told me in a phone call this week from Boston. Local audiences can see the rest of the story Thursday in Tacoma and Friday in Olympia. Colvard will attend both screenings.
“At the time I never really understood the magnitude of what he had done.” Colvard said. When he was an adult and could fully grasp the situation Colvard was bewildered by his sisters’ desire to have normal father-daughter relationships.
“At that point I couldn’t wrap my head around why they could have a relationship with that man,” he said.
Colvard attends many of the screenings and while he’s quick to point out he’s not an advocate for crisis disclosure, there’s something in the film that resonates with many audience members.
“The film is giving them permission to deal with parts of their past they need to deal with,” Colvard said. Everyone’s story is unique but many can relate to the act of betrayal and unresolved issues.
The 82 minute film premiered in competition at Sundance this year and was the first film acquired by Oprah Winfrey for her new cable channel. It has been shown at festivals around the world and won numerous best documentary awards including at the Atlanta Film Festival. Recently the film was selected by the Independent Documentary Association to qualify for an Academy Award.
The Boston Globe called the film “one of the most psychologically complex movies ever made about either racial identity or abuse of any kind.”
For more information on the film: http://www.c-linefilms.com