In 1938, Civilian Conservation Corps cadet John Patton Jr. (Bennett Parker) made a discovery that would have rocked the world, a skeleton neither human nor animal yet unquestionably tied to humanity.
Now, this secret is about to be discovered again.
Wonder Mill Films and writer/director Lee Fanning have created with A Genesis Found
an example of what they're calling "DIY Filmmaking," a grassroots indie approach to filmmaking and film promotion that seems to emphasize truth in artistry and a less traditional approach to distribution that emphasizes building relationships. Rather than the usual festival route, A Genesis Found
is for the most part being distributed through a regional tour that stresses both the personal nature of the film and its regional connections to the southern United States.
In the film, we flash forward seventy years to Patton's grandson, Gardner (Elliot Moon), who is forced to come to terms with his grandfather's past. When his cousin, controversial documentarian Bart Thompson (Luke Weaver), arrives in town for what he believes to be an ordinary shoot, Elliot is quickly drawn into his past when it's revealed that Bart is searching for this secret that their grandfather had long ago hidden away. Gardner becomes absorbed by this entire adventure, alienating those around him including live-in girlfriend Kelsey (Elise Zieman). As he's drawn in deeper and deeper, Elliot comes to realize that this secret may in fact reveal a direct link to God.
After Nocturnal Third,
the folks at Wonder Mill Films revealed themselves to be ambitious and bold filmmakers. While their modestly budgeted productions occasionally show the strains of their financial limitations, Fanning's commitment to a bold and intelligent vision is impossible to not admire and what's fairly remarkable is just how well he pulls the whole thing off.
I have a confession. I didn't actually enjoy A Genesis Found.
It's painful to admit, because I admired it, respected it and found myself thinking of any number of other folks I know who would enjoy it tremendously. Quite simply, it's not my cup of tea and, despite actually watching it twice, the film simply never held my attention despite being well written, solidly acted and having a strong core of spirituality that would usually captivate me.
But, when it comes down to it it's not my job to decide for you if a film is good or bad. It's my job to help you decide if a film is right for you. This film may very well be right for you.
The ensemble cast is uniformly strong, and Fanning's script is intelligent, thought-provoking and insightful. While it does lack that certain "spark" that might help it remain appealing to those not particularly into this type of film, the simple truth is that it's still a very well done film that many will enjoy.
Elliot Moon does a fine job as Gardner, and Elise Zieman is particularly striking as his live-in girlfriend. The film is beautifully photographed by Stephen M. Lucas, while the film's original music from Christopher Whitney and Brett Robinson companions the film quite nicely.
If there's anything of which A Genesis Found
may remind you it would be, perhaps, a young Indiana Jones set in very real, rural U.S. The film never stops feeling authentic, but it's also got this wondrous and adventurous vibe about it that will captivate young people who've ever explored life or some other mystery.
For more information on A Genesis Found
or to pick it up on DVD, visit the A Genesis Found website.
© Written by Richard Propes
The Independent Critic