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Victims of Another War - The Filmmaker

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The Filmmaker


Glenn Gebhard is a Professor in the Department of Film & Television at Loyola Marymount University. He's written, produced and/or directed dozens of documentaries - many of which have won awards - on topics ranging from the Long Island Baymen to the ex-patriots who yearn to return to their Cuban homeland to rebuild emotional bridges with relatives they've never met. Yet, his current project raises the personal stakes for Gebhard because the topic emerges from an irreparable hole in his spirit.

Ten years ago, Gebhard's estranged wife abducted their children and took them to Germany. As Gebhard sought to reclaim custody of his children, he discovered two frightening facts: not only had his ex-wife convinced his children that he was a monster, but even though his ex-wife is not a German citizen the German government was not going to become involved in helping an American obtain access to his own children.

As Gebhard searched for help and insight into a problem that he thought was unique to him, he discovered PACT (Parents & Abducted Children Together) a non-profit organization in the United Kingdom, whose mission is to fight parental child abduction across borders and help the police locate and retrieve missing children. Through PACT, Gebhard discovered that of the millions of children who are reported missing each year, approximately 40% are victims of parental abduction.

In an effort to understand the emotional and psychological challenges his own children faced, Gebhard made a documentary on the topic. However, while most stories about parental abduction present the parent's point of view, Gebhard wanted to tell the story of the child's experience. Much to his horror, Gebhard discovered that the devastation of children who are victimized by parental abduction continues - and, perhaps, increases - after they reach adulthood and are able to examine the situation from a mature point of view.

With great difficulty, Gebhard located many adults who had suffered parental abduction as children. Three of them were willing to discuss their experiences on camera. Rather than impose his thoughts on the two men and one woman - whose ages range from mid-thirties to mid-forties - Gebhard allows his subjects to open up gradually. As they struggle to explain their pain and bewilderment - both in the past and in the present - Gebhard allows the camera to linger. At the times when their emotions become most intense and we want to turn away from their deeply personal anguish, Gebhard moves in for extreme close ups on their eyes. His subjects are beyond tears and so we are moved to cry for them.

In the understated narration written by Gebhard and spoken by Michael York, we come to understand the ultimate power of a documentary - its ability to bring clarity to subjects that might otherwise seem unexplainable.

VICTIMS OF ANOTHER WAR: The Aftermath of Parental Alienation is a groundbreaking study into the psychology of adults whose childhood was stolen from them on the day they were abducted. It has been submitted for Academy Award consideration. The documentary was funded by a generous grant from The Donald W. Reynolds Foundation and is endorsed by PACT, whose supporters include Pierce Brosnan, Sir Michael Caine, Sean Connery, Michael York, Michael Douglas and Catherine Zeta-Jones,

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