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Directed by Andrew Paul Davis
USA | 100 min | 2020
A conflicted minister reckons with his marriage and a new foster child. Meanwhile the foster child’s mother tries to get her son back, her past coming back to haunt her.
POMPANO BOY is my 2nd narrative feature, and an ode to my hometown of Pompano Beach, Florida. It’s an exploration of several aspects of my upbringing, which included a megachurch that heralded fostering as a cure to a real local crisis.
In college I joined a living-learning-community that studied orphans and vulnerable children, where I became aware of the damaging, and often hidden psychology experienced by a child separated from their family. While fostering can be a necessary stepping stone, reunification with their biological parent is always healthiest and to be prioritized.
To write this film, I listened to foster parents and former foster children share the messiness of their experiences. I wanted to deconstruct the assumption I grew up with that a couple in ministry is the inherent best place for a foster child. That doesn’t mean that that can’t be a good place, it just means no home is perfect. Children can be failed by imperfect foster parents, and they can be failed by the system—just as they can be failed by a cycle of segregation, poverty and incarceration plaguing a biological parent.
I also wanted to portray the “influencer-ificiation” of society. In POMPANO BOY, the protagonist Art is fired from his large church for divergent views and struggles to find a new job. To solve his problems, he starts a new church with less stability. But in 2019, 2020, 2021… doing your job well isn’t enough—you also have to share online if you expect to grow your venture. This notion of growing an online following comes full circle by the end of the picture.
This film portrays two classes in South Florida, which is not unique to the area. There is the working class which Candace and Ross exist in, and there is the decaying middle class, which Art and Izzy inhabit. In my view, Candace is stuck because of a system which prioritizes incarceration as a corrective measure, damaging her ability to ascend from her conditions.
Who determines why a child should be separated from their parent? Who provides community-care for a struggling parent? How can mental healthcare improve the outcomes of foster children? How can we encourage reunification through preventative social structures rather than setup exorbitant roadblocks?
We finished filming on January 15, 2020, and it has become a strange time capsule of pre-COVID Florida, a state that acts as an individualistic microcosm of an American ideal—work in paradise and pay 0% state income tax. It’s possible that this over-reliance on the private sector to address social-issue-symptoms allows Elijah to slip through the cracks.
Andrew Paul Davis
Andrew Paul Davis is an American filmmaker and songwriter based in Chicago. He was born in Fort Lauderdale, Florida on September 20th, 1994, and has been writing and directing since 2011.
He graduated from Taylor University in 2018 with a BA in Film Production and minors in Theatre Arts and Creative Writing. He’s directed over twenty short films and three plays, with festival recognition at the Heartland International Film Festival, RiverRun International Film Festival, Palm Beach International Film Festival, and Charlotte Film Festival. His short film “Maya” went on to receive 5 million views on YouTube before being censored from the platform. In college, he wrote and directed eight short films spanning 1929-1999, each film taking place in the final year of their respective decade.
In 2018 he launched One County Film Company with his brother Timothy Mark Davis.
Andrew’s debut feature-length film “Palace” was called “a bittersweet love letter to rural Indiana” and “remarkable debut” by Fort Wayne’s ‘whatzup’ publication. His sophomore feature “Pompano Boy” is slated for a 2021 release.
His debut folk-rock album “For Now” was recorded with producer Bill Baird and friends.