TorinoFilmLab - Training, development, Funding



Ian Barling

United States


Francis, a middle-aged Atlantic City card dealer, abandoned a life of sin long ago for Anna, member of an influential family whose newfound mayoral ambitions are taking a profound toll on their relationship.

Past and present collide when Danny, Francis’ estranged son from his first marriage, returns to the decaying resort town under suspicious circumstances. After impulsively offering to house Danny and train him to deal cards, Francis strains to balance his broadening responsibilities and is forced to contend with the familial and professional fallout.

When Danny finally reveals his true intentions, Francis must revisit the shadows of his past, and in doing so, desperately struggles holding onto the better version of himself he worked so hard to create.


I grew up without a father, whose presence in my youth was comprised of rare, brief and often cryptic appearances. Yet, over time a black-and-white resentment began to complicate with shades of grey. Without vindicating him, I began to consider his perspective, imagining his thoughts and feelings in an attempt to grasp an emotional logic in his seemingly incoherent behavior.

Thus, Francis is the carrying out of one such reimagining. It is a deeply personal exploration of the internal dynamics of a fraught father-son relationship. It is the study of a man who has long alluded me, but whose qualities, both virtue and vice, I am increasingly finding in myself. It is a specific vehicle for the cinematic examination of universal notions of parental responsibility, traditional masculinity and unbridled love.

I am no longer seeking answers from my father. Rather, I am searching for his subjectivity, for his essence, for the humanity that we share. This story allows me to continue that search.


A card dealer’s troubled past is exposed while navigating the obscure return of his estranged son.
Ian Barling

Scriptwriter, Film Director

production notes

produced byRiparius Pictures
185 Green Street
NY, United States

current financial need
€ 1.700.000