Holy Moses | A Short Film Proof of Concept | Short of the Week

Holy Moses | A Short Film Proof of Concept | Short of the Week

A peculiar miracle binds together a pregnant nun in 1960s Ireland with a Texas gas station attendant 25 years later.

With a stellar cast that includes Amanda Seyfried, Thomas Sadoski, Philip Ettinger & Dan Bakkedahl, HOLY MOSES is a gorgeous, metaphysical proof-of-concept short for a proposed feature.

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HOLY MOSES
From Horsegod Productions
A Film by Eli Powers

“A film in two parts, the halves of Holy Moses cross time and space, and present immense contrasts in setting, style, and tone. Yet there is an invisible thread that connects these two scenarios which is both intriguing in-and-of-itself and which portends a larger world full of revelation and conspiracy. A proof-of-concept for a feature script, we usually shy away from these open-ended works that withhold a degree of narrative satisfaction, but the collision of themes and styles in Holy Moses paired with this intriguing world-building proved irresistible to our tastes, and if this 15min short fails to provide a clear picture of how it all adds up, we can’t deny our interest in seeing how this talented team tries.

We begin in Ireland, 1963, where a very pregnant nun (Amanda Seyfried) wanders the church’s cattle ranch in emotional and spiritual distress. She has ill-defined feelings of something bad coming her way. This early sequence, with dreamy hand-held photography, and overlaid with voice-over of the nun’s confession describing her fears, is a potent opener. A scene of the nun, dressed in white and crossing a snowy field, is an immediate contender for the year’s most evocative, and is surprisingly emotional. Then, this ordinary woman is confronted by the extraordinary.

Cut to 1989, Texas. The snowy confines of the barn and confession booths is replaced by sun-drenched vistas of an endless arid landscape. A lonely gas station attendant mans his dilapidated post when the extraordinary comes to visit him as well. Enlisting local law enforcement to help make sense of things, we as an audience share our character’s confusion, and are slowly parceled out information that makes the connection between these two scenes clear, if no less inexplicable.

Powers’ stated goal with the project is to depict “ordinary people coming face-to-face with the extraordinary, (and) to present the world as magical and kinetic.” He uses religion and spirituality as a lens in which to accomplish this—sometimes comedically, sometimes with a straight face, and the film is a collision of the two. The Tarkovsky-influenced dramatic atmosphere of the first half gives way to a more Coen Bros-tinged farcical tone in the second, and though this transition is stark, the juxtaposition is interesting.

Even more interesting is the meta-physical mystery the film presents and the humanistic way its characters confront it. Their whimsical befuddlement and rationalizations are entertainingly played for laughs, and pair nicely with the filmmaker’s motivations. More importantly for the future potential of the project is that, through careful production design and measured filmmaking, the team has created a world that can contain the miraculous in all its bewildering and seemingly mundane glory. This is a potent quality that suffuses the entire film, and though, in this shortened adaptation, there is a question of whether Powers knows what to do with this sensation he’s crafted, a late-breaking twist points the way to a highly promising direction. ” S/W Curator, Jason Sondhi

CREDITS
Mary – AMANDA SEYFRIED
Justice – PHILIP ETTINGER
Sheriff – THOMAS SADOSKI
Doc Bob – DAN BAKKEDAHL
The Priest – JOHN GOWANS

Written & Directed – ELI POWERS
LA Unit Cinematographer – COLT AIDAN SHELDON
NY Unit Cinematographer – JORDAN HALL
Editor – COLIN SMITH
Executive Producer – AMANDA SEYFRIED
Producer – THADDEUS BOUSKA
Associate Producer – ADY PIÉ
1st AC – MADISON MCKAMEY
Gaffer – DMITRI CHRISTOFORIDIS
Composer – LYDIA PARKINGTON
Sound Design & Mix – JACK GOODMAN
Colorist – ROBBIE RENFROW
Title Design – STEVE KELLY

Featured on this channel with the permission of the filmmakers.

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