A Pulse-Pounding, Cinematic Legal Drama That Activates Reform Against Corruption In Foster Care

Winner of 10 awards including Best of the Fest, Best Narrative Feature, and Best Feature Film at festivals across the nation, Shaquille O’Neal presents Foster Boy, a pulse-pounding cinematic legal drama that activates reform against corruption in foster care. Michael Trainer (Matthew Modine) is a lawyer at the center of a trial in which a for-profit foster care agency is accused of putting a known sex offender into the same foster home as his young client Jamal (Shane Paul McGhie), with catastrophic results. Michael, a successful litigator with a long career protecting corporate interests, at first wants nothing to do with Jamal’s case until a Judge forces him to accept it. Initially, he sees Jamal as a kid off the street looking to grab a piece of corporate profits. But when Jamal refuses to settle the case for any amount of money, Michael begins his representation in earnest. Louis Gossett, Jr. (Watchmen, An Officer, and a Gentleman) also appears as the judge overseeing the case. As their work together reveals the horrifying depth of the corrupt and abusive for-profit foster care agency, Michael is transformed from cynical skeptic to fierce warrior in the pursuit of justice. Amy Brenneman and Evan Handler round out a formidable cast.

Written by Jay Paul Deratany and based on one of the most formative cases of his law career, Foster Boy brings to light the dark corners of the foster care system and hopes to start a national dialogue concerning the state of the system. Foster care run for profit is permitted in the majority of the states reporting. Foster Boy seeks to throw light on the outrages of this little-known system – and create momentum for urgent corrective action by communities, states, and the federal government. Join film producer Shaquille O’Neal and step up to help thousands of foster kids across America. Follow the film online + take action –>  https://www.fosterboy.com

SCREENINGS: See the film that is sweeping the nation in February at the Pan African Film Festival (27 Feb), Sante Fe Film Festival (12-16 Feb), and the Sedona Film Festival (27 Feb at 1:10pm & 29 Feb at 4:10pm).


“The very agencies charged with and paid to keep foster children safe too often failed to provide even the most basic protections, or to take steps to prevent the occurrence of tragedies.” – U.S. Senate Committee on Finance

Foster Boy is based on true events – it is about courage, an unlikely friendship and a tireless search for justice, and it shines a bright light on the very real abuses in the for-profit segment of the foster care system, widely recognized, including by U.S. Senate investigations. Deratany and Samuelson hope that the film will help raise awareness of the daunting challenges faced by all youth in foster care, and the need to help them because they are our responsibility.

Studies show fewer than three percent of foster youth earn a college degree. Each year, more than 20,000 youth age out of foster care, and within two years, more than half are homeless, incarcerated, on drugs or on welfare.

“There are an estimated 400,000 children in foster care in America,” Deratany noted. “They are basically unrepresented, with few ways to shape their destinies. Why? One simple reason: they are children. They have no money and they have no voice.”

“Foster children are the last great civil rights victims in America,” Samuelson added. “After 25 years, I thought I had retired from producing films to produce charities, but Jay’s script was too compelling and too important. And now pro-social film-making is core to what I do.”

Foster Boy is directed by Youssef Delara (Filly Brown, The Bounce Back, English as a Second Language) and is produced by Jay Paul Deratany, Peter Samuelson (Arlington Road, Wilde, Revenge of the Nerds), Anne- Marie Mackay (The Last Word, The Girl from Nagasaki, Always Outnumbered) and Andrew Sugerman (Conviction, Shop Girl, Premonition). Basketball superstar Shaquille O’Neal is an Executive Producer on the film and has a “Presented By” credit as well. Other Executive Producers are RKO Pictures Vice-Chair Mary Beth O’Connor, O’Neal’s partner Michael Parris, John Schimmel, Thom and Matt Lipari, Max Adler and Danny Moony.

The production is partnered with nationally recognized charities Children’s Rights of New York, the Children’s Advocacy Institute at the University of San Diego, and First Star of Los Angeles, as expert advisers on the story.



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