“Growing up in Maine, I have always been drawn to stories that inhabit the region. My work in film has frequently brought me back there to capture the unique individualism of the state. I read about Kenneth in an article in the Bangor Daily News, the local paper up there. He was such an interesting guy, so full of ideas and contradictions. It really moved me. So I looked him up and went to his workshop one day when I was in Maine visiting my family. I ended up spending a day with him talking about his history, philosophy, and family.
I wanted to make a film that asked big, philosophical questions while still being small, quiet, and simple. I liked that contrast. The film explores the role of religion in a world that is becoming increasingly secular and modern and asks us to consider what lessons can be learned from fundamentalist groups like the Amish. Should they be rejected as oppressive, embraced as enlightened, or does the answer lie somewhere in between? It also explores ideas about the environment and sustainability. I think this is an incredibly relevant issue, but I had never seen it discussed the way Kenneth does. He makes it almost personal and existential at the same time. Kenneth’s evolution from a man of unshakable religious faith to a man committed to evangelizing on atheism and progressive values shows that these two ideals do not have to be so diametrically opposed. I found his spiritual journey and sacrifice inspiring.
My goal was to give the film a unique feeling, almost like a tone poem. My favorite documentaries feel just as crafted as narrative films and go beyond simple journalism. With THE SEEKER, we did something rare in documentary and shot on 16mm film. We did this to mirror Kenneth’s commitment to using older technology, and felt that the grainy, nostalgic aesthetic of film seemed to fit perfectly with his antiquated way of life. The images feel timeless and handmade, just like the location itself…Because a lot of the story was taking place in the past, I knew I needed to find a way to use the present tense to bring his story to life. The idea of the changing seasons and the process of life on the farm, especially the process of making furniture, seemed to fit with Kenneth’s own journey of evolution and rebirth.”
Lance Edmands is originally from Maine and graduated from NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts. Lance also directs and edits commercials, including acclaimed spots for Chevy, Cadillac, and Google. His most recent shorts, STRAYS, WHITEOUT, and THE SEEKER were Vimeo Staff Picks.
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