Last Minute Father’s Day Gift Idea – “Five Friends”

“My father always used to say that when you die, if you’ve got five real friends, you’ve had a great life.”

-Elbert Hubbard

Act One alumni Erik Santiago (writer/director) and Ken Stewart (producer) have teamed up to co-produce a documentary that is gaining rave reviews across the industry. It might even be that last minute Father’s Day present you’re looking for.

Five Friends deals with the importance of male friendship and intimacy. It is getting incredible reception both from Christian media outlets (and even more importantly) mainstream audiences.

Five Friends has been featured on NPR, Psychology Today, and in this write up in Christianity Today (below). Erik and Ken have even been approached by “O” (Oprah) magazine about the possibility of a Fall article, which as everyone knows, means that they are, like, totally on their way to media superstardom.

Read the CT review below, and maybe you’ll want to pick up and copy of Five Friends for a father in your life. Whether he already has “five real friends, or is struggling with the cultural reality of the Friendless American Male, this beautiful documentary could be a Father’s Day gift he’ll never forget.


Bromance Personified

Documentary ‘Five Friends’ illustrates what adult male friendships should look like.

Mark Moring | Christianity Today

The terms “man date” and “bromance” are hardly new. The New York Times wrote about the former more than six years ago, and the latter was coined by the editor of a skateboard magazine in the late 1990s, describing the relationship between skateboarding friends who spent lots of time together.

The terms (and ideas) have become Hollywood staples in recent years, as various films—notably I Love You Man and Superbad on the silver screen, and Mad Men on TV—have tackled the topic. And Esquire magazine asked on its May 2010 cover: “Are you man enough for the ‘man date’?”

Though pop culture is showing more interest than ever in heterosexual male friendships, the ideas are almost as old as civilization, starting—at least fictionally—as far back as Fred Flinstone and Barney Rubble. Three thousand years ago, the Old Testament’s David and Jonathan epitomized such a relationship, and in 300 B.C., Aristotle described the perfect friendship like this: “It is those who desire the good of their friends for the friends’ sake that are most truly friends, because each loves the other for what he is, and not for any incidental quality.”

But few have tackled the topic as deeply, poignantly, sensitively, and seriously as filmmaker Erik Santiago in his new 70-minute documentary, Five Friends, now available on DVD after multiple screenings to various groups, including church gatherings.

Santiago, who wrote, directed, and produced the film, started with a simple enough premise: Already the father of two daughters, he began to think more seriously about male friendships when his wife became pregnant with their first son. Santiago, in his mid-20s, sought the wisdom and advice of a good friend, Hank Mandel, almost twice Santiago’s age.

Mandel (left) with one of his good friends

Nothing earth-shattering about that premise, but Santiago noticed something about Mandel that stood out from many of the other men he knew. Not only was Mandel open, vulnerable, and willing to go deep—traits men traditionally struggle with—but he had some friends who were the same way. Santiago determined that it was those friendships—more than just age and “acquired” wisdom—that made Mandel special. Santiago wanted the same for himself—and for his soon-to-be-born son.

So he focuses Five Friends not on himself, but on Mandel and, as the title says, five of Mandel’s best friends. The idea was also sparked by a quote from early American writer and philosopher Elbert Hubbard:

“My father always used to say that when you die, if you’ve got five real friends, you’ve had a great life.”

The now 60-something Mandel has those five “real” friends, and thus makes a both fascinating subject and a terrific example for men seeking the same kind of deeper relationships in their own lives…

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Five Friends DVD & Workbook Now Available for Father’s Day!
Can’t find something for the guy who has everything?  The Five Friends DVD and Workbook make great gifts.  They have been hugely popular among men 30s and older, so it’s great for all those dads.