Historical Fiction/Non-Traditional Narrative
by, Jessica Lakis & Michael Mullan
DEAR SIR traces the interconnected stories of a Civil War soldier and a modern young man, who shares the soldier’s name, as they struggle with both their individual fates and common dreams.
The impetus for DEAR SIR came when co-filmmaker Michael Mullan discovered a gravestone at the Gettysburg National Cemetery that bore his name. Research revealed the historical Lt. Michael Mullin to be an Irish immigrant who once lived in Mullan’s old neighborhood in Philadelphia. DEAR SIR creates a framework to allow these two men to communicate over the chasm of time that separates them.
The method of communication relies on the (fictitious) journal of the late Lt. Mullin and the modern Mullan’s letters of question and response. The resulting exchange drives the narrative to the inexorable conclusion of Lt. Mullin’s life, and the modern Mullan’s coming of age as a man.
Writer/producer/co-director and editor/sound mixer, Jessica Lakis, based her writing of Lt. Mullin’s “journal” on archival biographical information on Lt. Michael Mullin, research into the Irish immigrant experience of the American Civil War, along with contemporary writing.
Filmed in Pennsylvania. on a shoe-string budget, DEAR SIR went on to become the only selection of an under-graduate film at the 2000 Student Academy Awards, and 2001 Winner of the Jimmy Stewart Crystal Heart Memorial award, among other honors. DEAR SIR also received local and national airing on PBS, IFC, and Bravo. DEAR SIR, (LETTERS TO A UNION SOLDIER) continues to catch the attention and hearts of all who watch it.
Dedicated to James N. Lakis
Father, artist, teacher