Connection is why we’re here. It’s what gives purpose to our lives. I make movies because I want to connect with others; the act of creation is linked to who I am. As human beings, we’re wired to connect, but happens when we lose this purpose?
What happens when we become disconnected from ourselves?
The NFL is a $10 billion-a-year industry with 85 million fans who elevate players to pantheon status, but in recent years, concussions have started to sideline these athletes permanently. Young men who have dedicated their lives to this pastime are suddenly forgotten, deemed washed-up by age 30, cast off to lick their wounds below cheers continually booming throughout America’s stadiums.
As a nation and as a culture, we are averse to weakness. We are a commonwealth that addresses problems by procrastinating with self-delusion; anything to salvage a connection with power and strength. This is where we meet J.P. Duke. J.P. is an NFL linebacker sidelined by traumatic head injuries. J.P. is an expectant father of two. And J.P. is a warrior newly rendered mortal, a man navigating that terrifying ellipsis between certainty and the unknown: vulnerability.
What happens when things change? What happens when we must start over before we’re ready?
THE DUKE: BASED ON THE MEMOIR "I'M THE DUKE" BY J.P. DUKE considers what it is to be truly vulnerable, and what it’s like to confront that human core of shame and fear that can also be a seed of so much joy, belonging, and love.
- Max Barbakow, Director