Award of Excellence – “Like Son, Like Father” (USA)

Title: Like Son, Like Father
Runtime: 18 min
Country: USA
Director: Mark Bethea
Placement: Award of Excellence
Competition: September, 2023

Synopsis: The short film “Like Son, Like Father” is a heartfelt, smart, engaging and moving story of a young man who decides to reveal his sexuality to his conservatives Miliary father. The film explores the themes of identity, acceptance, and family in a realistic and nuanced way. 

Harry, the son, (in an award-winning performance by Lazarus Tate), came out as gay via a YouTube video when his Army Ranger father (in another award-winning turn by Edward Neequaye) was deployed overseas. Upon his return to the US, father and son have a heart-to-heart talk on the beach—and event that the Harry has been dreading. His biggest fear is that his father will be disappointed that he is gay and as he runs through the possible scenarios in his mind, he can think of nothing worse than disappointing his father.

Unable to break through his son’s built-up defenses, the father finally reveals a secret of his own—he had a long-time affair with his best friend who Harry knew as “Uncle Lee.” BOOM! And then, as the son begins to accept this earth-shattering revelation, the father reveals that he is not disappointed that Harry’s gay—he’s disappointed because he doesn’t want his son to go through the problems that he did. And more importantly, he’ll never know the pride and love he feels for his son. “Good talk,” Harry finally says. “Yeah, good talk, son,” the father says as they walk, literally, into the sunset.

And there is one more surprise as they get in mom’s car to leave…