Embittered old mariner Abner (Christopher Lloyd) is a widower living a solitary life. Withdrawn from his family and the tight-knit community of his small marine town, he is a grumpy and unsociable man who seems to live in the past, only finding comfort in the countless hours spent building a sailboat in his yard. When neglected young orphan Rick (Tekola Cornetet) wanders onto Abner’s property, hiding from the local bullies, the two find common ground and form an unlikely bond which will change their lives in unexpected ways.
Christopher Lloyd began his career in theatre. He has appeared in over two hundred plays including on and off Broadway, regional and summer stock productions. For his title role in Kaspar he took home an Obie and Drama Desk award. Christopher starred in the Tony Award winning Broadway production of Mornings at Seven, directed by Dan Sullivan, as well as Twelfth Night in NY Festival’s Shakespeare in the Park and Center Stage’s Waiting for Godot, and as Dalton Trumbo in the New York production of Trumbo.
In 1975 Lloyd began his film career in One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest. This was soon followed by a two year run as Jim Ignatowski on the television series Taxi, for which Lloyd won two of his three Emmys. In 1992 Lloyd made Emmy history when he won Best Dramatic Actor for Disney’s Road to Avonlea. In a category dominated by series regulars, Lloyd was the first actor to win for a guest appearance. The following year, the rules were changed to include a Guest Appearance category.
Lloyd has appeared in over ninety film and television productions including the Back to the Future trilogy, Things to Do in Denver When You’re Dead, Eight Men Out, Addams Family and Addams Family Values, BBC’s Dead Ahead: Exxon Valdez Disaster, The Pagemaster, Dennis the Menace, Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai, Track 29, Clue, The Dream Team, Angels in the Outfield, Star Trek III, Goin’ South, Who Framed Roger Rabbit, My Favorite Martian, Tales of Despereaux, Snowmen, Granite Flats, and Mike Nichols’ HBO adaptation of Wit, starring Emma Thompson.
Lloyd won an Independent Spirit Award for his chilly depiction as a soulless murderer in Twenty Bucks.
Prior to his role in The Boat Builder, alongside Christopher Lloyd, Tekola Cornetet, 12 years old, hosted a web series titled Tekola Takes Off, where he traveled across the globe, and off the beaten path, to experience and share cultures foreign to most Americans. Tekola is a long way from home - born in in rural Ethiopia and orphaned at the age of three, he was adopted by American parents when he was four. While working on his acting career, Tekola splits his time between his home in Denver, Colorado and Los Angeles.× close
Arnold Grossman, writer and director of The Boat Builder began his career in advertising where his early work in television earned him numerous recognitions including the prestigious CLIO award. After creating T.V. commercials for a number of high profile political figures, including congressional representatives and presidential candidates, Grossman began focusing on his writing career publishing both narrative and nonfiction works.
Grossman is an accomplished author, with three published novels to his credit including 1988, A California Conspiracy, and Going Together, as well as a nonfiction book on gun violence in America. As a playwright, Grossman adapted the novel 1988 into a play titled Tarnished Eagle. He is also currently developing Going Together into a full length feature. His short fiction works and magazine articles have been published by notable publications including Redbook, Good Housekeeping, and Playboy.
The Boat Builder marks Grossman’s directorial debut on a narrative feature. His film and television credits include working as a writer and director on Freeze! An American Peace Story, a documentary featuring John Denver, Judy Collins and Jimmy Buffet; writer of the cult T.V. series The Love Boat; producer of CBS film Cries Unheard; as well as writer and director of Real Stories of the Highway Patrol, and creator of Right to Justice, New World.
Originally from New Jersey, Grossman is a longtime resident of Denver, CO where he has been an active member in the local film community.
Richard J. Bosner produced the politically-charged true story Fruitvale Station starring Octavia Spencer and Michael B. Jordan which received the Sundance Film Festival U.S. Grand Jury Prize in the Dramatic category and the Sundance Audience Award, U.S. Dramatic, presented by Acura along with 44 nominations/wins during the 2013 Awards Season.
Bosner recently produced The Wannabe starring Patricia Arquette, with Executive Producers, Dean Devlin and Martin Scorsese. The film premiered at the 2015 Tribeca Film Festival and will be released in theaters this November. In early 2015 Richard wrapped two films which he shot back-to-back in the San Francisco Bay Area; The Boat Builder starring Christopher Lloyd, and Cardinal X for Executive Producer Cassian Elwes. In the summer of 2015 he executive produced Other People starring Molly Shannon & Jesse Plemons.
Richard J. Bosner
Most motion pictures have back stories within them. The Boat Builder has one that goes back decades before the film was even conceptualized, back to when I was writing and directing television commercials and documentaries used in political campaigns. During those years, I learned how to tell a fully developed story that engages and captivates audiences in just thirty- or sixty-second segments. I also learned how to make the most out of smaller budgets. This skillset, along with my experience with long-form narrative as an author, helped lay the foundation for my later transition into independent filmmaking.
Starting my journey as an indie filmmaker later in life is the culmination of lessons learned from my life experiences and a long career in various creative fields.
After my first venture into long-form storytelling directing Freeze! An American Peace Story, a ninety-minute documentary on nuclear disarmament, which featured performances by John Denver, Judy Collins, and Jimmy Buffett, I came across the idea for The Boat Builder.
The genesis of the project began when a story came to me based on the plight of two people I knew in real life. One was an elderly and embittered man, the other a young orphan who was facing consignment to an institution after a series of failed foster home situations. In spite of the years that separated them, the two had more in common than they themselves, or those who knew them, might have realized. It was that commonality that led me to develop a story about two people at opposite ends of life who find a bond in a shared dream. A sailor since childhood, it occurred to me to make the dream of building a boat together a venture that could offer the hope of a metaphorical journey to freedom.
I first wrote the story as a play and, after staged readings, realized that film offered a less limiting and more dimensional form. Thus began the making of a film about the building of a dream, The Boat Builder.
And much in the way a boat is built, from the keel up, in the filming of The Boat Builder, a key element was the unfolding of a character-driven story layer by layer, from the basic premise to the conclusion. The two principal characters, gradually form a bond while working together.
To achieve that end, it was necessary for both leads to evolve into personas that were changed by the events they faced and by each other. That required more than performance alone. Cinematography, sound, effects, music, and color correction were all brought into play. They worked together to ever so gradually create the evolution of change, to transform what was at first cool and dark to warm and bright as hope replaced despair and the story journeyed to completion.