Technology has changed the face of indie filmmaking in some wonderful ways.
Directors can now shoot films for a fraction of what mainstream producers allot, and the results often look remarkably like bigger-budgeted fare. You may not get razzle dazzle CGI at that price point, but you’ll still have a feature film anyone can view with a few clicks of the Roku remote.
One thing hasn’t changed, though. Storytelling still matters.
The writer/director of “The Healing Garden” leaned on that principle during its 2019 shoot. Joseph Granda, a retired actor and HiT contributor, re-created his “Hollywood” career behind the camera. Granda tells a faith-friendly story in “Garden,” the tale of a widower whose faith is rekindled after moving to a trailer park community.
The film stars Danny Michael Mann, Kyriana Kratter and Redmond Ramos.
Granda shrewdly embraced the film’s spiritual purpose but added the kind of storytelling grit often missing in the genre. Turns out Christian audiences are eager for stories that don’t follow the faith-based playbook to the letter.
The results? An overwhelming response on Amazon.com, to the tune of a 4.7 out of 5 star rating from audiences. Here are a few sample reviews:
This is a beautiful, heartwarming story appropriate for family viewing. It takes on the difficult topic of losing loved ones and the process of healing as a journey through grief and crisis of faith. The actors create characters who are believable and easy to care about as they face their individual losses….
A heartwarming story of fitting in and believing that wanting what God wants yields fruit. A story of people who want change can receive a better life here on earth. And a story presenting who God is to a questioning child. I like how the answers are not easy one size fits all. Great cinemaphotography with subtle symbolism. Recommend for families with children thirsty to grow where they are planted and to those needing a reminder that God’s miracles are not ancient history….
Depth, uplifting, powerful, sweet, bittersweet but the sweet outweighs the sad scenes imho. There are some great actors in here especially the leads. Two of the miracles remind me of 2 specific miracles I also experienced … wild.
I don’t want to give the movie away-I’ll just say one regards the main character is at first surrounded by grumpy, disconnected neighbors—and the other, God brings multiplied good from bad in the healing garden -just Believe : ) That part’s like a tough part of my life-my dear Mom passed not long ago, but in the hospital I was compelled to pray that in honor of her difficulty & our loss, manyd end up somehow drawn to a relationship with God--It’s been powerful & bittersweet….
This was a great movie. It made me laugh and cry. But, most importantly it made my love for Jesus and my faith soar. As one actor said my spirit was low. Thanks to the writers and producers. And special thanks to the actors. They just don’t make good movies like this anymore
Granda received an email after the film debuted in March from a viewer touched by the story’s message:
My husband was the finest man I ever met. By the time he died, he had all of the fruits of the Spirit, which had been his constant prayer. He had the kind of integrity that was infectious. He lifted up everyone around him, just by being who he was. I loved him very much. We only had 20 years together and after 17 years I still miss him everyday.
No, I have not let go. No one ever told me I was supposed to. He and photos of him and us together still occupy the top of my dresser. I was waiting for someone to place us, together, in the garden that we created together. That is still my plan.
But after watching your movie, I realize that it is time for me to also create new gardens with and for other people. So that they can [have] the beauty and sustenance that God can bring forth from the earth. It won’t be easy, I have the degree in horticulture and was a landscape designer, but that was only knowledge. My husband had the green thumb. Together we made one great gardener.
The film earned only a few “official” reviews across the web, including this rave from Dove Media.
Granda’s second film may get all the media attention “The Healing Garden” missed, and then some.
He’s writing and directing the screen adaptation of Douglas Wilson’s “Ride, Sally, Ride” novel. The story, teeming with sharp-elbowed attacks on woke culture, follows a Christian accused of murder after destroying a man’s sex robot.
Granda shared part of his vision as an indie filmmaker competing against much larger projects.
“Don’t waste your time trying to get a ‘name’ actor for your film, most aren’t worth the money for what you get back in the marketplace. There are talented actors all over the country, search them out,” Granda says