If you’ve ever gotten separated from your child for just a few moments and remember the depth of panic that sets in, then you can begin to understand what Noreen Gosch has felt over the last 30 years since her son Johnny disappeared delivering newspapers on the morning of September 5, 1982.
More than any other missing child case, Johnny’s story has spawned countless theories and has instilled intrigue in the millions who remember the kid on the side of a milk carton. Along the way there have been mysterious sightings, strange clues, bizarre revelations and ambiguous photographs. A confrontation with a person who claims to have helped abduct Johnny paves the way to a crime scene and the possible involvement of a child abduction and prostitution ring. And then a knock on the door in the middle of the night raises as many questions as perhaps it answers..
Who Took Johnny is an examination into the infamous thirty-year-old cold case behind the disappearance of Iowa paperboy Johnny Gosch, the first missing child to appear on a milk carton. The film focuses on the heartbreaking story of Johnny’s mother, Noreen Gosch, her relentless quest to find the truth about what happened that tragic September morning when Johnny never returned from his paper route and her life since in helping others to mobilise the authorities when their children go missing.
Who Took Johnny captures the endless intrigue and conspiracy theories surrounding the eye-witness accounts, compelling evidence and emotional discoveries which span three decades of the most spellbinding missing person’s case in U.S. history.
“Timely, shocking and relentlessly compelling, documentary Who Took Johnny recounts the strange story surrounding the disappearance of paperboy Johnny Gosch, one of the original milk carton kids..Viewers with a taste for true-crime drama and plausible conspiracy theories are likely to come away wanting more, making the film a good candidate for a spin-off series. Others may cherish the ambiguity here, the way Capturing the Friedmans it allows room for debate.. despite the potentially lurid nature of the material, the film is never exploitative and a sense of compassion and respect, one untarnished by sentimentality, for victims and their families shines through throughout.”
Leslie Felperin, The Hollywood Reporter
“An amazing, lunatic documentary that will leave you creeped-out, excited and surprised”
John Waters, director of Hairspray and Crybaby
Shawney calls himself a filmmaker, but he’s been a strip-club manager for longer. When he was six his father bought “The Manor”, a small-town strip club.
Thirty years later, the family’s lifestyle has got the better of them. While his 400-pound father prepares for stomach-reduction surgery, his 85-pound mother has her own complicated relationship with food. Shawney’s role as struggling filmmaker and outcast son provides a rare glimpse into a family facing the consequences of their livelihood and dependence.
Told with humor and frankness, The Manor is an intimate portrait of people struggling to call themselves a family.
“There’s more than a faint echo of ‘Grey Gardens’ in this Canadian-gothic portrait of an unusual family business.”
“The Manor… [rises] to the ranks of some of the best family portrait documentaries.”
“in the vein of Capturing the Friedmans and Crazy Love”
“78 minutes rich with character, incident, friction, deadpan humour and voyeuristic thrills.”
The Globe & Mail
***Opening Night Film – Hot Docs***
***Official Competition – Karlovy Vary – Winner, Honorable Mention Best Documentary***
***Official Competition Opening Night – Zurich***
***Official Competition – Woodstock – Winner, Best Editing***
***Official Selection – Bergen***
***Official Selection – Goteborg***
***Official Selection – DOCNYC***
***Official Selection – Antenna***
***Official Selection – DMZ***
In 1969, an American Vietnam war hero relocates to a remote village in the Philippines and invites hundreds of women to live with him in his compound. Through money and violence, he was able to rule as a king. “It was like having a vacation everyday”, he recalls proudly.
In 2002 he was charged with over 80 counts of rape.
Victor Pearson is now in jail serving two life sentences, but many of the women remain by his side. Pearson and his harem form an extended family bound together with codependency and power issues. Although still behind bars, he has since married five of the women who testified against him in court keeping them in apartments in the neighbourhood.
Unrepentant, Victor Pearson is undoubtedly a charismatic character who lived his dream. When confronted with his abuse of girls as young as fourteen, he claims that the lifestyle and education he provided these women with, outweigh the charges leveled at him.
“Kano” is the fascinating story of a convicted rapist and the women who come together to form a most dysfunctional family.