Blood Born: 3 Thumbs Up for Jason Epperson

It seems like Winchester, KY native Jason Epperson just can’t catch a break in Hollywood. The 31-year old entrepreneur and owner of Eppic Films, Inc., began his television journey on the latest reality TV game show titled “On the Lot.” The show, a Steven Spielberg production, aims to find the next best director in America. As with most reality game shows, “On the Lot” began with thousands of applicants and is now down to a select few.

Basically, the contestants (or directors) have a week between shows to write, cast, direct and produce their short films. After they’ve been aired, America calls in and votes for its favorites—the director who earns the least votes goes home. Yet, before the contestants hear America’s opinion (a week later), after their short airs, they must immediately stand before a panel of 3 judges and receive their support or disapproval. While Jason’s first film “Getta Rhoom” was dealt a number of tough critiques but the judges, America not only voted Epperson through to the next round, they thought his film was one of the top 3 (click here to see “Getta Rhoom”).

Fans of Epperson’s work are hoping that the same will happen this round too. As with before, the judges were highly critical of Epperson’s work and didn’t receive it very favorably. Both Carrie Fisher and Wes Craven said that they were “confused” by the film. Unlike his previous short, a comedy sketch, this film titled “Blood Born” was more serious. Though Epperson doesn’t consider himself a “Christian filmmaker” but rather a “Christian who wants to make positive films,” his mini-drama from this week teemed with Christian imagery and overtones.

The storyline followed a young man named Brandon whose life is—to say the least—bittersweet. On the one hand, Brandon is caught up in the dope-game and because he owes some money to a number of drug dealers, his life is at risk. On the other hand, Brandon is a rather generous fellow as he is a frequent blood donor. In fact, after his visit to the doctor’s office, Brandon finds out that the blood he has been donating has healed scores of cancer patients and that he has the potential to save many lives. Yet, the viewer, along with Brandon, is blindsided when as he leaves the office where he’s just received the good news, by a car that pulls up and guns him down in a drive-by. While there could be a number of morals to the story, the one that seemed most obvious to me was: Our lives often affect many more people than we realize.

Though the mini-drama does not portray the lead role Brandon as Jesus per se—though this is what director and judge Gary Marshall seemed to be expecting—he is meant to be a character that has been given a gift by God, a character who has the potential to heal many people and save their lives. Still, the title of the film, “Blood Born,” seems to imply such Christian connotations. There are other biblical echoes and allusions in the film as well—even though Epperson may not have meant for them to be there, as a believer rooted in the Biblical story, it might be that it is simply such a part of who he is that it shapes the stories he tells. For instance, the themes of cleansing water and healing blood are found throughout. The doctor says to him while showing him a number of pictures of patient who previously had cancer: “All of these people, all of them have received your blood…and all of them have been completely healed…there is something in your blood that is healing…You’re going to help save the lives of many people. You’re a miracle. You are a gift from God.” There is also a tinge of the Messianic Secret cloaked in the film when the doctor tells Brandon, “Don’t talk to anyone about this!” Just as well, the quick shot of the clock on the 11th hour implies that something bad is about to happen; that Brandon is on His way to death; he’s bearing His cross!

While the other contestants had some good films (I particularly liked “Glass Eye” by Will Bigham), Epperson’s film was my favorite. The imagery and themes of the film are thought provoking and go well beyond the surface of what’s seen on the screen—honestly, they have the potential to raise some deep questions. I think that one of the reasons the directors may have missed the cogency and beauty of the film is perhaps because they had presuppositions about the Christian imagery in the film which they truly didn’t understand (e.g. Gary Marshall waiting for a resurrection) and on top of that, they only had a few seconds to make a halfway decent analysis.

Despite the negativity of the judges, I give Jason 3 thumbs up (because there are 3 judges); I hope he wins this thing! It’s about time LA had a good, clean, unbigoted, Christian filmmaker around! Vote for Jason!

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