In an isolated church community in the English countryside, a powerful hate preacher prepares to deliver a sermon to his flock, but his daughter has a secret that could destroy them all.
The Sermon is a short ‘Folk Horror’ dealing with sexuality, faith and oppression shot on 35mm film. In the tradition of such films as ‘The Wickerman‘ (Robin Hardy, 1973) , ‘The Blood On Satan’s Claw‘ ( Piers Haggard, 1971) & ‘The Witchfinder General’ (Michael Reeves, 1968).
These British films from the late Sixties and early Seventies that inspired me, have become known as the ‘Unholy Trinity’ and are characterized, in general, by isolated communities that have created their own societal rules often dominated by a strong male figure and ending with an explosive act of violence. I thought that these ideas and tropes were ripe for updating. So the Sermon is not only meant to be an engaging drama about our protagonist Ella’s secret life, but also a political fable which seeks to reflect, through metaphor, the current British and US socio-political climate. Written in a frustrated daze after the double whammy of Brexit and the Election of Donald Trump the film is set in a kind of ‘nowhere time’, a parallel reality almost like a dream that could be in the past or perhaps, if we are not careful, our future.
The Sermon holds a great deal of composure and suspense. It truly becomes a timeless piece with some older fashion filming techniques mixed with a retro-futuristic soundtrack. As mentioned by director Dean Puckett, the era is unidentifiable and can be left to anyone’s perspective. The film’s wonderful nostalgic look came from 3perf 35mm on an Arricam LT with Zeiss Master Prime Lenses & an Alura 45 – 250 Zoom supplied by Arri.