Walk the Fish

Co-Writer, Director, Director of Photography, Editor:

Kathleen Man Gyllenhaal (credited as Kathleen Man)

2010, Short Film, Hi-definition video, 25 min.

Don, a Holden Caulfield-esque character steeped in ennui, wanders through upstate New York in search of love and his life’s purpose. To his own surprise, he winds up with something even better.

Visit the film’s official website:

A Note from the Co-Writer, James Roehl:

WALK THE FISH began as a writing assignment for a screenwriting and directing workshop held by Kathleen my Senior year at Vassar College. It soon stopped being a homework assignment and became a way for me to examine a 3-month period of profound depression I had experienced the previous year as a Junior, in the fall of 2007. I went from having a fantastically wild and crazy summer to, come Fall semester, being completely devoid of energy, inspiration, whimsy, ideas or anything. I felt like a blob. A privileged white male waste of space. Needless to say, I was feeling pretty dark.

In the midst of that haze and before the depression really got its hooks in, I spent a few days of my Fall break in Providence, RI, visiting a dear high school friend who was attending RISD. Of course I still nursed a nervous crush on this old friend, but she’d made it clear three years previously that we could only be friends. Attractions linger, but I politely made no romantic moves during this confusing visit. I instead watched as another visiting friend from the past swooped in and hooked up with her. Absolutely crushed, and too lost to really solicit help or advice from this beautiful friend, I instead kept my feelings to myself and bit my lip before going back to Poughkeepsie and tucking in to some grade-A winter woe.

This story tells about what would have happened had my friend not been so innocent and charming, and had instead been one of those phony friends, an old flame that turns out not to be that cool and steps on your heart. It’s the version of the truth wherein something snaps in me as opposed to letting that nerve burn out. Kathleen and I made this film for all the intelligent but arrestingly weird people that might go through the trouble of walking a fish, or wearing their heart on their sleeve. It’s a wake-up call to all those talented people who languish in the mental world as opposed to getting out their and flourishing like their elementary school teachers promised. WALK THE FISH means follow your heart.