“Vindication: The Gentleman” won Best Short Film at CWVFF 2019. Recently, Director Jarod O’Flaherty took some time to share with us his journey in creating this film.
Any moments from creating this film that impacted you personally?
The pastor’s voice you hear through the opening sequence is a man named Dave Busby who was an evangelist in the 80’s and 90’s. He passed away in 1997 after battling cystic fibrosis and a number of other ailments throughout his ministry. About 8 years before filming this episode, I saw one of his sermons on a VHS tape during a Sunday evening church service and it impacted me greatly. When a pastor was needed in post-production, I reached out to his widow on the internet to see if I could possibly get permission to use one of his recordings in the episode. To my surprise, she replied with a very gracious message and granted us permission to use the sermon audio. This was very special to me and I am honored to have Dave’s ministry continue on in this film.
How did you work to honor God in the process of making this film?
We work with many people who are not believers on Vindication and my goal, in honoring God, is for those people to always leave knowing that something was different and good about that “Christian set.”
How did this project help you grow as a filmmaker?
Vindication: The Gentleman was actually the fourth episode in our series, so continual growth was happening all throughout the process of creating the series. For this episode, in particular, I had to make a tough decision in the pre-production process that involved dismissing a very dear person from the project. Through that experience, I learned that sometimes in a leadership role, you must make tough decisions that may not please everyone. In retrospect, I am satisfied with how I handled the situation and believe I honored God through the process.
Had you attended CWVFF before making this film and if so, how has it encouraged your journey as a filmmaker?
I attended CWVFF for the first time in 2017 when our pilot episode, Vindication: Alibi, won the award for Best Short Film. The encouragement and compliments I received from so many people at the event was empowering. They affirmed that we were doing something right. Ironically, at that festival, I had some people read an early draft of the second episode which we ended up shooting about 2 months later.
What other training/networking resources were helpful in your journey?
I met Todd Terry, the lead actor, at a Christian networking event in the Dallas/Fort Worth area. I was excited about the chance to work with a “pro” actor for the first time, so he never even auditioned for Vindication. Later, at a film festival in Austin for our first episode, the event’s host was Venus Monique, who later became the understudy detective in the series.
Why are you passionate about the message of Vindication: The Gentleman?
I am passionate about this film/episode because it deals with a unique character that resembles someone I bet almost all of us know. And while perceptions of this character may be troubling from afar, we later learn that this person has an immeasurable love for the Lord.
How can people view Vindication: The Gentleman?
On Friday, August 9th, the entire series, including Vindication: The Gentleman, will be available free on Amazon Prime Video for Amazon Prime subscribers. Additional services, including Christian Cinema, will have Video On Demand options available at a later date. A DVD of the series will also be available in the Fall.
Thanks, Jarod for giving us a glimpse of how you created this film! It’s been fascinating to go behind-the-scenes to understand how episodic content is made, and the unique challenges and opportunities it presents.