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In the name of the father: Filmmaker traces impact of father’s suicide

Profile image for By Theresa Westbrook
By Theresa Westbrook

It was like any other normal day when 9-year-old John Finch’s father dropped him off at school. John’s father gave him a big hug and kiss before driving away that day. Hours later, the distraught dad committed suicide.

John spirals out of control trying to fill the void, and is plunged into years of drinking, chaos and confusion.

In The Father Effect, a full-length documentary, Finch shares his own story. He shows how growing up without a dad negatively influenced his life. He shares valuable insights into his own painful wounding and how he later came to forgive his father. Embarking upon an encouraging path of becoming a good father to his three young daughters, Finch sets out on a journey that would radically change his life forever as a man, husband and father.

Finch’s story is a labor of love that took five years to complete. It gives voice to the countless others who have grown up fatherless. Throughout the film, Finch shares the powerful father stories of people from all walks of life, including a former exotic dancer, a drug addict, a former All-American and NFL quarterback, prison inmates, millionaires, counselors, best-selling authors and many other ordinary people with extraordinary stories.

This film is about legacy and the significant and lifelong impact fathers have on their children and the generations that follow them.

The Father Effect is is currently airing on EWTN, a Global Catholic Network. The documentary is also available in many translations.

Helpful Resources

The holidays can be a time of difficulty for many who struggle with depression. If you are in need, please reach out:

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-8255

Veterans Crisis Line: 1-800-273-8255

National Domestic Violence Hotline: 1-800-799-7233