Willie and Harrison

Log Line

After his estranged son dies in a protest against police violence, a cop spends years bonding with his grandson through short visits at the park. He is sworn to secrecy by his daughter‐in­‐law and faces the burden of guiding the boy through life without revealing their familial ties.

Synopsis

During a protest against police violence, an ex­‐military activist named TRAVIS (25) is killed by a white officer. WILLIE (62), Travis’ estranged father and a clerical worker with the police department, is still picking up the pieces over a year later. He spends every lunch break in Central Park hoping to catch a glimpse of his daughter­‐in­‐law, ELSPETH, and the grandchildren he’s never met – HARRISON (5) and MICA (1). Elspeth notices Willie one day and lays strict ground rules. She allows him to interact with Harrison from his park bench, but he can never reveal their true relation. Willie faithfully comes to the park everyday. Over the years, he bonds with Harrison through superheroes, games and Travis’ old Jets trading cards. At one point, he even saves Harrison from a group of school bullies. Willie eventually retires. He loses his home due to failed investments and moves to a homeless shelter. Elspeth tries to walk Harrison and Mica to school on the anniversary of Travis’ death. A related protest has broken out. The crowd accidentally sweeps Harrison away. Willie pulls him to safety before the protestors and police collide. Elspeth buys Willie a coffee to say thanks. They talk about the pain and guilt of losing Travis while the children play. Willie wishes he had stood up to bad apples in the force and supported his son. Another three years go by. Harrison turns 15. He finds Willie sleeping at the park. Willie mentors Harrison on accepting Elspeth’s first serious relationship since Travis’ passing. He also asks Harrison to bring his school girlfriend, MELANIE, by the park someday. The sight of the young couple together reminds Willie of his late wife, JASLENE. Willie soon struggles through three years sitting at the park without a sighting. Finally, Harrison comes to talk with him. Elspeth has remarried and moved to Cleveland. Harrison stayed behind. He tells Willie that he’s engaged to Melanie and training to be a counselor. Harrison begins visiting more often. The two spend time looking at Willie’s wedding photos and discussing Harrison’s progress at work. Willie feels ill during a visit and cuts their conversation short to return to the homeless shelter. Harrison secretly follows him. Willie’s longtime friend, SHEILA, reveals that Willie is Harrison’s grandfather. Harrison investigates online and confirms his lineage. He confronts his mother over the phone. After several days of his grandfather being a no show, Harrison sees Willie in his usual spot. He rushes over to finally embrace his grandfather. To Harrison’s horror, Willie has passed away on the bench. Harrison, anguished over lost time, retrieves Willie’s belongings from Sheila and installs a plaque for his grandfather on their special bench.

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