Moviegoers lineup to discuss the impact of fatherlessness.

Where’s Dad? And why can’t I wash off this stain of sorrow?

The absence of fathers from the home is such a common occurrence, that perhaps words like “phenomenon” or “trend” don’t really do it justice. It’s the norm. It’s reality. Thus, it’s befuddling that until “Absent,” a documentary film has not tackled this common slice of life head-on.

It’s less surprising that Hunt was the one to finally break the ice. His previous film, 2008’s “American Meth,” confronted another under-reported scourge.  This isn’t a guy prone to sweeping things under the carpet.

Intrigued by the concept behind “Absent,” I contacted Hunt. Unlike most filmmakers I’d sought out for interviews, he responded immediately – nothing absent about this guy. And… get this. Not only had he read a Metallica book I’d written, but he had named his son Lantz after one of my friends featured within my pages.

It’s a strange, small world we live in, folks.

James Hetfield
Interviewing James Hetfield - Lead Singer of Metallica

  Hunt sent me a screener of “Absent.” His documentary struck a chord… and we’re not talking power chords. My inner Metal Geek had suddenly retreated. Instead, my real life roles, as beloved son of a devoted father, and as committed father of two kids, sensitized me to the significance of Hunt’s message. “Absent” opened my eyes to how a father’s neglect, abuse, or lack of presence had branded high school kids, models, boxers, and yes – a certain rock musician, with what the film describes as a Father Wound. A sense of abandonment, confusion over one’s gender identity, and an increased chance of criminality are the potential by-products of this permanent scar.

Can the Father Wound be cauterized? Or does paternal No-Show equate No Hope?

Hunt, a single father with two children, seeks generous answers in the film Absent. He insists that there’s more work to be done to reduce America’s pandemic of Dads who prematurely depart from their needy nests.