Filmmaker Patti Obrow White brings her film, If I Could (119 minutes),
to the festival, telling the story of a Denver woman, Tracy, and
her battle to save her troubled son James from being consumed by
the legal system.
In 1979, White produced the television documentary "Wagon
Train Trail" for CBS, the story of four so-called juvenile
delinquents assigned to a character-building wagon train journey
called VisionQuest. One of the participants was an angry and defiant
Tracy, then 14 years old. Twenty years later she is the single mother
of four children and her son James is following the familiar route
of anger and defiance, in trouble and in placement since age 6.
Tracy turns to VisionQuest and her mentor in recovery, father figure
Bob Burton, to help with James. The film chronicles a year in their
lives when James struggles to exorcise his demons and Tracy struggles
to build a self-sufficient and honorable life for herself and her
If I Could bravely reveals, in explicit detail, the extended family's
repeated patterns of abuse and documents many painful confrontations
among family members. Neither Tracy's growth nor James' comes easy
and the filmmaker hangs in through some harrowing circumstances.