Set in the provocative world of converted storefront churches and based on actual events, Free in Deed depicts one man’s attempts to perform a miracle.
When a single mother (Edwina Findley Dickerson, Treme) on the brink of desperation brings her tormented young son to church for healing, a lonely Pentecostal minister (David Harewood, Supergirl, Homeland) is not only forced to confront the seemingly incurable illness of the child, but his own inescapable demons as well. And the more he prays, the more things seem to spiral out of his control.
Free in Deed has already been nominated for Independent Spirit Awards, but Gravitas Ventures, the company behind the film, is giving it a limited theatrical run and releasing it on demand (September 8, 2017). In the meantime, we’ve got an exclusive clip for you to check out below:
Check out Variety’s review of Free in Deed:
Jake Mahaffy’s Venice award-winner is a potent, provocative story of faith misplaced on the storefront-church circuit.
With faith-based filmmaking confidently on the rise in the U.S., a counter-movement of similarly independent agnostic cinema seems a debate-stoking inevitability — with Jake Mahaffy’s searing, skeptical but roundly compassionate ecclesiastical drama “Free in Deed” sure to raise hackles and rally support in equal measure.
Pulling few emotional punches with its troubling, fact-inspired story of a self-styled Christian miracle worker’s ill-fated engagement with a desperate single mother and her tormented young son, Mahaffy’s film offers an illuminating immersion into the rarely-depicted world of storefront churches, also placing a welcome spotlight on a disenfranchised sector of African-American society. A deserving winner of top honors in Venice’s Horizons strand, this jagged, productively provocative work needs every such plaudit to convince skittish distributors of its conversation-piece potential.
Mahaffy’s film gives Findley a remarkable leading showcase, casting her as Melva Neddy, a life-bruised, staunchly God-fearing mother of two driven to the end of her tether by parenting challenges. These mostly involve her autistic pre-teen son Benny (RaJay Chandler, in an extraordinary, physically demanding debut performance), who is afflicted by internal ailments that doctors seem unable to identify. Extreme pain manifests itself in violent, inarticulate, body-bashing bouts of self-harm, exhausting his mother and sometimes even endangering his younger sister Etta (Zoe Lewis). Hastily prescribed medication brings fleeting relief at best.
Get the rest of this review of “Free in Deed” at Variety.