by Thaddaeus Scheel
As the director of STUCK, I’ve had the wonderful opportunity to ride the bus and see the film in a number of settings….tonight I was asked to write the blog.
After leaving the STUCK tour in Los Angeles, my current home, I’ve rejoined the team in Rochester, New York: just a few miles from my hometown of Penn Yan, NY. I was so proud to have my 85-year-old father see the film that has been my passion for the last three years. As I hugged my father goodbye after the screening, boarding the bus headed east towards Albany, I reflected on the good fortune of having such a wonderful man to guide my life from the very start.
Three years ago I received a call from another such man, my executive producer, Craig Juntunen. At the time he was simply a stranger calling to talk about a potential documentary with the goal of bringing awareness to the millions of children wasting away in orphanages around the world. At the time, I knew very little about these children and the adoptive parents that awaited them. Little did I know when that phone rang three years ago, it would be the start of a life-changing journey.
Since that time Craig and I have traveled the world visiting dozens of orphanages in Guatemala, Haiti, Ethiopia, and Vietnam. We crisscrossed our own great country, documenting the stories of struggling parents awash in bureaucratic nightmares and interviewed both the powerful and the powerless in this human-rights struggle. We’ve made tough decisions and respectfully navigated the complex film-making process to emerge as friends and partners in this journey. I’m a different person because of this partnership and the experience we’ve shared.
Tonight on the bus, as we glide past the familiar towns of my childhood, I feel reflective about how much this film has expanded my small world and the importance of a family to come home to. I’ve learned much along the way but at the core of it all, I’ve just simply been inspired by the boundless tenacity of a man who saw something that was wrong and had the backbone to try to make it right.