Stephen Michael Simon’s short documentary film Bacon ‘N’ Laces will be shown at the 2022 New Jersey International Film Festival on Saturday, June 11th, 2022 in person at 5 pm and online for 24 hours. This film showcases the extraordinary life of John, a blind diner-owner and a single father to three sons.
John suffers from a condition called retinitis pigmentosa which has caused him to go completely blind. Although he has been blind for 49 years, his optimistic outlook on life proves that his disability can also be seen as an immense gift. He lives an independent life as a diner manager and single father, and he doesn’t let his blindness negatively affect his attitude. Bacon ‘N’ Laces fantastically captures John’s day-to-day life. When John is talking to guests at the diner, the screen momentarily goes black, and the audience only hears the sound of clanging plates and chatting patrons. This choice made by filmmaker Stephen Michael Simon helps to put the audience into John’s shoes and create feelings of empathy and understanding about blindness- something viewers may know little about. The film also showcases the community of understanding that John has extraordinarily built around him. He started building this community after college when he did stand-up comedy in New York. Stand-up made him realize that audiences were laughing with him, rather than at him, and his confidence continued to blossom.
John’s ability to adapt to his unique circumstances is astounding. Working in diners, most waiters and waitresses rely on paper and pen to keep track of customers’ orders, but because John can’t see the world around him, he uses his amazing memory to do his job. He calls his memory his “computer” which allows him to remember more than perhaps the average sighted person. He thrives on proving people wrong and exceeding expectations about what he can accomplish despite his disability.
John’s three sons, Tony, Dimitri, and Michael, have stepped up tremendously to help their dad. At 16, Tony, the oldest of the boys, became a caregiver to his father, acting as his pair of eyes and second-hand-man at the diner. As a freshman in high school, Tony’s responsibilities grew when it came to helping his dad, and he became a cook at the diner. However, Tony still loves being a teenager, calling it “pretty awesome” despite taking on a lot of responsibilities at such a young age.
The one thing that truly bonds Tony and John is shoes. In the film, John talks about his passion for collecting things he can wear like cologne, clothes — and shoes. John’s shoe collection is stacked in boxes from floor to ceiling. However, the collection is a joint effort- Tony has the same shoe size as his dad, and they have collected over 700 pairs! What’s even more amazing is that despite his blindness, John can tell exactly what shoe in his collection he’s holding based on its feel.
Bacon ‘N’ Laces is a must-see at the 2022 New Jersey International Film Festival. It’s heartwarming and inspirational as well as a great piece of filmmaking. The documentary is well-edited, and the comedy and lightheartedness are amazingly emphasized through this, especially cutting between the interviews and b-roll. Everyone who sees this film will be reminded that differences don’t actually divide us, and that family is one of the most important and special things a person can have.
Bacon ‘N’ Laces screens as part of the 2022 New Jersey International Film Festival as part of Shorts Program #3 on Saturday, June 11 online for 24 hours and in-person at 5PM. More info and tickets is here.
The 27th annual Festival will be taking place on select Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays through June 12. The Festival will be a hybrid one as we will be presenting it online as well as doing select in person screenings at Rutgers University. All the films will be available virtually via Video on Demand for 24 hours on their show date. Each ticket or Festival Pass purchased is good for both the virtual and the in person screenings. The in person screenings will be held in Voorhees Hall #105/Rutgers University, 71 Hamilton Street, New Brunswick, NJ beginning at either 5PM or 7PM on their show date. Tickets: $15.
For more info go here: https://2022newjerseyinternationalfilmfestival.eventive.org/