Honor Project Documentary: A Film About Fatherhood
Honor Project Documentary is an uplifting, thought-provoking film about fatherhood. Directed by Los Angeles based author and producer Emily Hibard, the documentary features 20 Los Angeles dads who couldn’t be any more different but share one thing in common: they’re all dads.
One of these dads is her own — George Hibard. We chat with Emily and George about the film, and fatherhood in general.
TDW: Thanks for your time, guys. What was the main inspiration behind the film?
Emily: There were three different catalysts that caused me to produce Honor Project Documentary. First, my dad is awesome! He’s what you might call an “alpha” male. It’s just who he is. Regardless of what situation we’re in, or what the circumstance is, this becomes pretty obvious pretty quickly. He’s the good ol’ guy who keeps everybody safe, finds a creative solution to every problem, and then humbly goes back to whatever he was doing. On more than one occasion, he’s been in restaurants when somebody is choking and turning blue. Without even thinking, he jumps up, runs over to them, gives the person the “Heimlich maneuver,” saves their lives, then asks for the bill because the applause and stares make him uncomfortable.
The second reason is because I’ve been working with women leaving the commercial sex industry here in Los Angeles for the past 15 years. At first, I just thought it was interesting that the women had dysfunctional relationships with their fathers. But after 15 years I’ve realised every single woman in Los Angeles’ commercial sex industry has had a horrible relationship with their father.
The third reason is because I wanted to push back on the notion that fathers and men are dumb idiots, incapable of parenting children. In most sitcoms or television commercials, dads are portrayed as juvenile, useless humans, who need to be rescued by their wives. I grew up with a great guy and have been surrounded by wonderful men my entire life. Seriously. My entire life. When it came to “casting” for the documentary, all I did was pick up my iPhone and start calling friends. Interestingly, they all sort of had a similar reaction — they didn’t think they were a good candidate for the documentary because they felt they were just “average guys”. But because they were “average guys” was the exact reason why I wanted to highlight them — they’re family men who are showing up, and consistently doing the hard work.
TDW: What is one thing you want other dads to take from the film?
Emily: I want everybody who watches Honor Project Documentary to understand the importance of forgiveness. Many of the “documentary dads” didn’t grow up with a father, or grew up with an emotionally absent father. These men have had to forgive their fathers in order to release the bitterness and resentment that had built up. By forgiving their fathers, these men have been able to parent their own children not from a place of pain, but of a place of love.
I wanted to push back on the notion that fathers and men are dumb idiots, incapable of parenting children.Emily Hibard, Producer, Honor Project Documentary
TDW: George, how do you feel about the film?
George: It was great! Seeing the months of hard work Emily put into it and then getting it onto the big screen was amazing. Most people don’t think about the process of filmmaking; they just watch the finished product and move on with their lives. Every word in every interview had to be taken into account, background music that matched the mood and emotion of the moment had to be found, and then somehow, a story had to be told. Think of your car. You get in and start it up, even though you have no clue of all that happened in order for that to take place. That’s sort of how filmmaking is.
TDW: How does it feel having a daughter who wanted to shine a light on you and other dads?
George: It’s great. Fatherhood is a subject not spoken about in modern times — well, not positively. Pick up any newspaper, magazine or digital media and start scrolling. How many hours, days, and months would you have to flip through to find a single, positive article on fathers?
TDW: George, in one sentence, what does fatherhood mean to you?
George: Fatherhood means protecting, providing, guiding and having a heck of a lot of fun along the way.
To purchase a copy of the Honor Project Documentary DVD, click here.