by director Andrea Blaugrund Nevins
The story behind The Other F Word came to me through my old chum, Cristan Reilly. She'd just read a hysterical book by a long-lost high school friend, Jim Lindberg, called Punk Rock Dad. She wondered if, after a hiatus from filmmaking to become a mother, I'd be willing to pick up the camera again and explore this kernel of a story—the seeming oxymoron of being a punk and being a dad. I said yes.
I could see Jim and I were both in the midst of a journey—albeit from opposite worlds: while he was the angry rocker belting his strong views against society, pop culture, and traditional values to a hungry audience of adolescents looking for guidance, I was a quiet documentary filmmaker trying to tell stories of human hardship to open hearts to the plight of others.
But we both had three young kids. And like everyone I know who decides to have children, we shared this basic question: how do you hold firm to your original, youthful tenets when you have to put food on the table and tuck someone into bed?
Ah, but his story was so much more amusing and more extreme than mine—and that's one of my favorite ways to tell a story.
And there we started. I would follow him on his latest tour and document how he balanced the rebellious life of a punk star with being a soccer dad to three little girls. Cristan (my brilliant producing partner, also a mother of three) and I thought this would just be a funny but insightful look at a new kind of parenthood seen through a lens we don't get a glimpse of too often. It is, without a doubt, very funny—even when translated into Czech, we found!
But more profoundly, Jim's two worlds, home and the road, were really starting to clash. The need to tour more to make money in a dying industry was diametrically opposed to the need to be home more for his pre-adolescent girls.
And while on this journey with him, we discovered a whole world of men in the "rock and roll" scene who were also struggling with this balance (there are many working parents who do as well, but this seemed more urgent). And what we discovered was that almost all of them, in different ways, felt abandoned or betrayed by their own fathers. When they were younger, some of that hurt was cleverly protected behind spikes, green hair and tattoos, but that coping mechanism is no longer as useful when handed a perfect baby of your very own. They wanted to be there for their kids the way their own fathers hadn't.
We knew we'd find the humor; we were truly surprised to find the tenderness.
Jim says at the end of the movie, "Maybe we don't have to write another punk song to change the world. Maybe we can change the world by raising better kids." I hope the audience comes away from the movie as I did—with broken stereotypes. Even though I thought I was somebody who could expose human hardship to open hearts, I still would have walked across the street to avoid any of the guys in The Other F Word. Now, I truly love them and see them as heroes. I hope you will too.