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Movie Review/Interview: “Romeo Misses A Payment” Hits An Important Issue

When it comes to child support, the courts and movies usually villainize parents as someone who wants nothing to do with their child’s life. Romeo Misses a Payment shows an eye-opening discovery of how unjustly the family courts are in handling divorces, and how the monthly check is far from an easy way out.

Director, Angelo Lobo, is a twice divorced single father who is struggling with his own finances and issues dealing with the family law court system.  Upon his own experience, he has decided to take a deeper look into how other parents just like him have been unfairly treated through the American divorce system.  Lobo travels to multiple cities, including Dallas, for in-depth interviews explaining how distressing of a situation it is for the children, parents, and extended families involved.  The film also features the expert testimonies of attorneys, judges, and law officers who are caught up in the business of divorce.

This is a simple documentary.   Shot with one camera, Lobo pretty much interviews whoever he could get that would best impact his message.  He does throw in some old black and white movie clips for transition as they relate to the topics at hand.  Though the documentary may not be filmed in the highest quality (weak lighting, low budget), it makes the film more personable.  This is a documentary with an objective.  Lobo cares about his subject, and the people he is interviewing.  He is hoping that after people watch his movie, there is an affect, and steps are taken for the system to finally be rightly handled.

This may not have been an issue that most people would think needs concern, but as shown in the documentary, parental suicides have gone up five times for fit parents that are removed from their children.  Arrests have been made to parents who simply can not afford to pay their child support.  They are treated like criminals, and there is nothing they can do about it.  “If you have money, the courts listen to you; if you don’t have money, the family system really sucks.”

Romeo Misses a Payment is shocking and emotional.  The upsetting revelations that surface throughout the film will leave audiences truly appalled, and quite possibly ready to take action for a much needed change in the system.

I also got a chance to have an e-mail interview with Angelo Lobo to talk about the movie.

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Were there any specific interviews in this film that was particularly hard for you to shoot? If so whose and why?

Yes, mostly all made a difference in the direction of the film. The interview that stood out the most to me was of Kenneth from New York. Here was a man who invented MRI equipment to save lives and help people. In his interview you could feel his pain and standing there it was almost like he was not present because he was recalling everything that was being done to him. After the interview he went into the restroom so I waited outside to say goodbye and thank him, and I could see the tears in his eyes- an knew then as I walked out that I had to keep this film alive.

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After the interview he went into the restroom so I waited outside to say goodbye- thank you for what seemed to be 30 minutes then I went into the rest room and he was just standing there- all alone in tears with blood shot eyes- I just turned around and as I walked out I knew I had to keep this film alive.


It was frustrating to see you not able to film in the family court houses in the beginning of the film, how did you finally get the footage in court?

After trying unsuccessfully, we finally got a lead and we begged the Dallas George Allen Court because they had the most cases of support incarcerations. Once we got the permits and started interviewing, everyone was kind, cooperative until we started asking questions regarding money, their collections, and the federal tax incentives they were getting. We were then asked to call the attorney general to explain what we really filming and we were quickly escorted out of the property. I was told that day off the record “the court has obtained more than 100,000 families and exceeds that each year”. Another turning point for the film because some of the parents were telling the judges right in front of us they did not want to bring the other parent to court and the court would persuade them to do it. Very bizarre.


How was your experience filming in Dallas in comparison to other cities you visited?

I believe all the cities run in parallel because the system seems broken all around except for states that have 50/50 shared custody bills and mandatory paternity tests are in place. Dallas – at the time of filming, the parents that were incarcerated and begging for release had no proper legal representation they seemed to be belittled and forced to agree to terms that seemed unrealistic for their release. Dallas – At the time of filming the parents that were incarcerated and begging for release had no proper legal representation they seemed to be belittle and forced to agree to terms that seemed unrealistic for their release.


Anything you enjoyed about our city?

I like Dallas a lot, been there few times and have good friends there. Overall it is a great city.

What steps do you think need to be taken to improve the divorce system?

I hope and pray that once the film is released parents,judges, and the overall system itself can see from the stories that deny basic human rights to our children will hurt the children and “battling” will not solve anything.

What did you enjoy most about making this documentary?

I really enjoyed meeting so many great people that were working towards positive changes not only in the court systems, but also to strength they way we think about marriage and teaching our children how important that is.

What do you hope all of your audiences will do after watching this documentary?

I would hope that if they or others that are going through those issues see the hope in unity and feel that they are not alone. They can go to our website for resources and get involved. We hope that this can help and hopefully things will get better for them and their families.

Join Angelo for a Q&A at the Magic Johnson Theater AMC on December 14th. And at the Regent Theater in LA on December 16th.

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