Country Ireland RT 60 mins Format DigiBeta Director Gwynne McElveen Producer/ DoP Andi Baiz Featuring: Gwynne McElveen, Mary Adams, Bill Adams Print Source 30 Moreton House Website three.fsphost.com/gwynne
Film maker Gwynne McElveen first wrote to her American pen friend in 1993. Over a thousand letters later she still had not met or even seen a picture of ‘Jim’. In this intriguing documentary she travels to meet her mysterious friend and piece together his disturbing life story. The viewer is told little at first other than the fact that he is a man of some intelligence and a brilliant comic book artist. His superhero creation, Captain Penumbra, whose name means the point where light and shadows meet, hints at the demons that exist within Jim’s mind.
From her native County Meath to Idaho and on to Arizona, the film follows McElveen’s journey as she meets Jim’s family and visits locations from his childhood. En route she asks complete strangers to read extracts from Jim’s letters and to imagine the sort of man who could write such witty and literate prose. The further McElveen travels across America the more nervous she becomes as the date for her first encounter with Jim draws ever closer. Eventually, she arrives at the walls of a state penitentiary and the truth is revealed.
This excellent documentary works as both a travelogue and a detective story. It is a fascinating story of how two disparate people can form a strong bond that cannot be broken by distance or circumstance. AD