For many fathers and sons, the Field of Dreams movie site holds special memories. Filmmaker Robert Cochrane and his father, Dan, visited the field in 2004 while visiting major league stadiums in the Midwest as part of a trip to see all major league ballparks.
It was two and a half years after Dan Cochrane’s diagnosis of Parkinson’s Disease.
Since that time, Robert Cochrane has chronicled the Parkinson’s Disease journey of his father and their entire family in films with baseball themes.
The father and son, along with the rest of their family, will return to the Field of Dreams Sunday, July 25 for a “Boys of Summer Celebration at the Field of Dreams Movie Site.”
Cochrane describes the event as “an evening about baseball, family, celebration, love and Parkinson’s.”
Starting at 6 p.m., the event will feature a dueling piano sing-along, a home run derby fundraiser for Parkinson’s Disease, a screening of Cochrane’s film, “Boys of Summer: Short Stop” and a question-and-answer period with father and son to follow. There will also be a group catch on the Field of Dreams.
“Dad’s journey with Parkinson’s Disease is going on 20 years,” Cochrane said. “When we were at the Field of Dreams in 2004, we expected it to be good, but it turned out to be sublime. It blew both our minds and that’s why we’re very excited to be returning to share it with family and to show how the journey has changed. What we thought we were doing in 2004 has expanded quite a bit.”
During the first years of his father’s diagnosis, Cochrane said the focus was on a cure for the disease within 10 years. “We were told that should happen. When it didn’t, we focused on quality of life. How can we live the best life? Let the researchers work on the science and focus on what they do, while we take care of what we can.”
Cochrane’s films use baseball themes to tell the story of their journey. The first two films, “Boys of Summer” (2006) and “Second Base” (2014) move from that 10-year cure goal to quality of life. The third film, “Short Stop (2020), which will be screened at the Field of Dreams, focuses on individuals and communities living their best. A fifth film, “Safe at Home,” is planned for some time in the future.
“It was about socialization and reaching out into the community. That became part of the exploration of the film, “Short Stop,” Cochrane explained.
Cochrane’s next film in the series, “Third Base,” will begin this summer. “The opening scene will be very much the Field of Dreams. We are really trying to open up to the idea of joy and celebration with difficult circumstances,” he explained. “There are a lot of times people look at this and are sad. Those are real things. We want to say, ‘this is tough, but we are going to have fun anyway.’ We are going to celebrate, sing, play some catch, have some great food and stay overnight at the Field of Dreams and be blessed by the whole magic of it.”
The event is free, but advance registration is required. Those wishing to attend may sign up at www.bosmovie.com. Proceeds from the home run derby will be divided between the Parkinson’s Foundation of the Heartland and the Parkinson’s Awareness Group of Clayton County.
“We are extraordinarily excited about coming back to the Field of Dreams,” Cochrane said. “It’s really been the heart of what we have done since the beginning. To see it now come full circle in the fourth film and see it become a launching point anew for what’s next, which we don’t know. We couldn’t be more thrilled. We hope everyone can come out to celebrate joy, family and baseball.”