"You've just broken
a dead man's boat," was the last thing Tom Shepard wants
to hear in his suddenly upside-down life. A website engineer,
traumatized by his wife's recent and tragic death, and compounded
by his father's death when Tom was only fifteen, this accident
with the boat only escalates his fear of death. He struggles
to box his emotions, along with his wife's possessions. Only
her death certificate remains as he busily gets on with his
life, or so thinks.
His business is expanding well, which is a distraction for
the grieving man. But soon, this work leads him to a local
hospice, and strangely enough to his being drawn into volunteering
to help a dying old man finish a boat he is building, a scull.
Over the course of one year, through humor an experience,
Tom and the elderly patient, Stan, develop a unique and trusting
friendship. As Stan becomes increasingly ill, Tom is forced
to both help his friend and deal with his own demons at the
same time. With the invaluable help of Hospice dedication
and the guiding memories of his wife, Tom is carried to a
moment of crisis. Will he succeed?
With compelling dialogue and visual scenes, Dead Man's Boat
delves into the taboos, fears and mystiques commonly associated
with the dying. When Tom is overwhelmed by his fear, in a
room filled with origami birds hand-made and hung by his wife,
they gently remind him of the importance of completing the
journey he has begun with Stan.
Creatively explored at the same time are the boundaries and
powers of spiritual growth, deeply committed relationships
and the strength necessary to overcome tragedy. When Tom,
at a peak point of the screenplay, is able to release his
wife's death certificate, launching and gliding it into the
distant air in the form of a paper origami bird, the circle
is complete and he embraces life again. The death certificate
flown as an origami bird and the completed scull both serve
as ranging metaphors in the lives of two men at the opposite
ends of life..