Patrick & Me is a feature-length documentary chronicling the journey of Anthony Cohen, a fourth generation descendant of a runaway slave. Drawing from an 1856 interview with his forbearer, Cohen carefully reconstructs the amazing life story of Patrick Sneed—a slave of African, Jewish, Irish and Cherokee heritage—who fled from bondage in 1849 and later went on to fight in the Civil War. Cohen, a historian who has twice walked the Underground Railroad, unearths Sneed’s story in Canada only to discover that Sneed is his long-lost ancestor and that he had followed Sneed’s trail north long before he ever knew of his existence.
Armed with new clues Cohen retraces Sneed’s path, trekking 1,600 miles from Georgia to Canada, seeking out Americans who bear the name of his multi-race ancestor, to uncover the fate of the mysterious man who vanished after the Civil War. While Sneed is the primary focus of Cohen’s voracious search for the past, his own personal desires, compulsions and dilemmas mix with those of his Sneed’s and vie for the viewer’s attention adding levity and humor to an often-heartrending storyline.
Patrick & Me reveals the staggering impact of slavery on the American psyche, as Cohen delves deeply into the souls of people he meets along the way, while trying to tap his own tangled roots. At its core Patrick & Me aims to shake-up our prevailing perceptions of race and identity, to reveal the deepest aspirations of generations long past and how their presence still lingers and continues to shape us more than a century after their passing.