Abner is a widower living a reclusive life in a coastal town. Having alienated his family and withdrawn from the small, tight knit community, he spends his days building a sailboat in his yard. When neglected 9-year-old orphan Rick hides on Abner's property, the irascible old sea captain reluctantly agrees to protect the lonely boy from a gang of local bullies on one condition: that he help him finish his half-built boat. Both have found themselves on the periphery. Abner's daughter Katherine wants him to move to a residence for seniors, or a garbage dump for old trash, according to Abner; while Rick's uncle plans to send him to a children's home. The pair gradually forge an unlikely bond as the boat becomes their one chance to escape from the seaside village that harbours their misery.
Written and directed by Arnold Grossman, The Boat Builder stars Christopher Lloyd (Back to the Future; Taxi) as Abner, Jane Kaczmarek (Malcolm in the Middle) as Katherine and introducing Tekola Cornetet as Rick.