Up for Award
By: Ryan Patch
Center for Faith & Work film director Ryan Patch’s new short film, “The Offering” has been nominated for the prestigious Palm Springs ShortFest Online Audience award. Check out the film below, read Ryan’s thoughts, and vote for the film to receive the award at the link below. Viewer discretion is advised for those under the age of 16.
Director Ryan Patch discusses what drew him to the dark material of the film.
I was drawn to this script after a trip I took to India in 2012. I went with a strong Christian organization, and so we discussed at length the Hindu pantheon of gods and spirits. But something that struck me was that our Indian guides did not refer to the Hindu gods as silly or make-believe, as some Christians might be tempted to. They referred to them as real, legitimate spiritual beings to contend with.
They spoke about how one could become “ensnared” to a god, which seemed like a silly or strange concept to me, given a god had no physical form. But when they described this process to me, they simply said that “The god starts by asking for nothing from you, and in return giving you everything.” And then, they explained, “as you and your family began serving this god or spirit, slowly, the god would begin requiring more and more from you, giving less and less. In the end, the god asks for everything from you, and gives nothing.”
What was eerie to me was that this was the exact same way that we speak about addictions like sex, alcohol, money, or success. They start by giving us everything for no cost. But slowly, they begin taking over our lives, until we are unable to escape their power. This gave the term “idol” a completely new meaning to me, and had me consider that I’m not “above” a religion like Hinduism who must deal with thousands of gods competing for my devotion and attention – I just don’t call the idols that I serve in my sin “gods”. Thinking of your devotion not just as worship but as an actual “Offering”, as Hindus do, makes you start to think about what we “give” to our idols when we serve them out of sin. The phrase “we all worship something” was taken a step further, to become “we all offer a sacrifice at some alter” – and made me ask what mine was.
My hope with this film was, besides the story being compelling in its own right, that it would cause us to ask “what would compel a father to do such a thing?” Many people ask me for the answer, or ask Mike, the writer, to fill in the prior 10 years in the character’s lives. But I think it’s more interesting if you fill in the dark backstory that brought him there – and then think about how that might be happening in your own life.