Ashes

Creator: Kevin S Brodie
Genre: Drama
Age rating: 13 and older
A college professor accused of Holocaust denial tries to clear his name and repair the strained relationship with both his teenage daughter and former lover before the scandal can widen the chasm between all of them.
Project collaboration: Closed
Synopsis: William Sweeney is an accomplished professor, best selling author and cable television personality. He is at the top of his career as an intellectual, but struggles mightily to be a good father to his sullen teenage daughter, Sophia. Sophia subconsciously blames Sweeney for the death of her mother in a car accident, and seems intent on inflicting cruelty and indifference upon her father as a penance. Unsure what else to do, Sweeney accepts the abuse, but continues to try and please his daughter. Sweeney shares the campus with Professor Lucy Rosenberg—just as iconic on the left as Sweeney is on the right. Lucy is also Sweeney’s old flame from graduate school, but is now his biggest campus rival.
Sweeney and Sophia’s strained relationship becomes even more complicated when it is reported that Sweeney has a secret life as an anti-Semite and Holocaust denier. Sweeney tries desperately to defend himself from these accusations on television and in print.

None of his efforts, though, prevent the widening chasm between himself and his daughter. Lucy, taking no pleasure in Sweeney’s humiliation, steadfastly refuses to discuss the matter with anyone—not even with her own brother, a rabbi. The college campus, meanwhile, is becoming a tense and dangerous place. Protests and demonstrations calling for Sweeney’s ouster and defending his right to free speech threaten to consume the campus in an emotional conflagration. While leaving his office one evening, Sweeney is attacked by two students with such ferocity that he has to be hospitalized. While he recovers, Sophia begins to doubt the harsh manner in which she has rendered her father, and considers forgiving him. Lucy, though, shocks everyone by publicly supporting Sweeney’s right to free speech—but her stance becomes misconstrued as support for his beliefs. She even testifies in his defense before the university regents.

Lucy’s allies and family desert her, while Sweeney resigns his position. The revelation that Sweeney is no longer employed by the university causes a celebration on campus that quickly degenerates into a riot between the two factions. Lucy’s public declaration of support puts her and Sweeney on a collision course. Sophia, still unsure what to do, stumbles upon their final showdown, only to overhear the real reason Sweeney left Lucy in graduate school: she’s a Jew. Sophia is devastated. The accusations against her father were all true—but Sophia’s beloved mother also shared his beliefs. Ultimately, Sophia leaves her father, forcing him to pay a high price for his prejudice and deception.

Latest Work

All Work

  • Script 2 - Kevin's 2nd Draft
    08/23/12
    Creative Notes:
    I made some changes to the ending, with an eye towards making the climax stronger. I also cut away some of the fat in earlier scenes to make the script leaner.
  • Script 1 - Kevin's Original Draft
    07/05/12
    Creative Notes:
    I began to develop this idea when I learned about people like David Irving and Fred Leuchter--professional, seemingly rational scholars who have a terrifying blind spot about Holocuast denial. Instead of making someone like that the villain, I decided to make him the protagonist.