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Maryland International Film Festival

Best Feature Film

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"The Forgiving remains a well-acted, acutely observed film; but can also

take us to dark places in our own lives... Stern [writer/director] has met

the first rule of drama; make  the audience care about the characters."

UK Film Review

"The Forgiving pulls hard... on your heartstrings... the intricate manner

in which the story is weaved allows us to be pulled alongside a

life that is spiraling out of control.Take 2 Indie Review

"[Healy's] performance as Avi is more than worth your time." Screen Critix

"...the story has a lot to say about loss and grief... Healy and Sokolowski

are fantastic as Avi and Beth... see The Forgiving." Film Threat

"...smartly creative and well-executed writing." One Film Fan

"...David J. Stern and his troupe have delivered a winner." IndyRed

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Avi Brickman is a middle-aged man still broken from the tragic death of his eight-year-old daughter five years earlier. When he is suddenly fired from his job, a thin threaded lifeline to his shattered existence, he decides to kill himself in the very home where the accident occurred. However, when he arrives at the isolated house in the woods, he finds a woman and her young daughter taking shelter there. During one long night, in his confused state of mind, he is haunted by the ghosts of his past as he confronts his guilt and pain to a cathartic and unexpected conclusion.

Director's Statement

We connect ourselves to people, family, friends, and love them. They become a part of us. Then, when we lose that person, especially prematurely, that tragic loss can become overwhelming. A sense of confusion and lack of grounding suddenly shrouds us and moving forward with our own life can become pointless and nearly impossible; the pain, often too much to bear. We will never get over it. We can’t get over it, and that person is never forgotten. In The Forgiving, our main character, Avi Brickman, has suffered deeply from such a tragedy. We follow Avi as he confronts his guilt and pain head-on, and witness his ultimate salvation, not as a sugar coated fantasy of what we’d like, but as a reality, with all it’s imperfections and complexities. Here is a film that embodies Samuel Beckett’s notion, “​I can’t go on, I’ll go on.​” Hard, is an understatement, but wholly possible and ultimately vital. ​The Forgiving​ is an emotional exploration that gives us hope in the harsh reality of tragedy.

David J. Stern


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