God answered the prayers of all praying for quality productions to begin replacing the “cheesy Christian movie” nomenclature on January 20, 2020. Two days after a signed distribution deal January 18, delivering Season One of Vindication to the German market, Season Two of the hit crime drama was greenlit.
Then lockdowns began. Creative media production ceased, other than animation, which can be done remotely. Cutting-edge creatives saw God using the pandemic to level the playing field.
“Returning to set, we did that back in June for two episodes, and I gotta’ admit it was very different,” Vindication series creator Jarod O’Flaherty told Christian News Journal.
Ponderous Hollywood couldn’t compete with agile Christian studios like O’Flaherty’s FlyRock Media. “We were outdoors shooting on the first day, it seemed like every car that drove by was driving by extra slow and looking,” O’Flaherty said of the most watched series on Pure Flix (June 4, 2020).
Award-winning actress, Peggy Schott (Fear the Walking Dead) as wife to main character, Detective Travis, told CNJ. “Our first day back on set felt surreal. [Her TV daughter] Emma Elle Roberts and I stood across the room from each other, smiling broadly behind our masks and wishing to give each other a huge hug.”
Steve Mokate (The Purge, Better Call Saul), cast as head detective, told CNJ, “I’ve been on many TV and film sets and working on Vindication is like nothing else I’ve ever worked on. From the start, I was comfortable with the whole cast and crew.”
Dallas-based Shakespearean actor, Matthew Allan Holmes, plays the tech geek love interest of series female lead Venus Monique’s character, Detective Kris Tanner. Holmes, a cellist, singer, and writer, told CNJ, “Covid has made it a challenge, but with safety protocols and everyone taking the situation seriously, the experience has been safe and worth the efforts.”
O’Flaherty mentioned answered prayers. “After the first shoot in June I made a list of about 20 things that happened…that I was just shocked by,” including a potential lighting crane falling. “Out of nowhere this freak windstorm comes blowing through, and I remember sitting at home going, ‘Oh my goodness,’ [if the crane falls over] what’s that gonna’ look like? And, of course, we got there the next day, and it was fine.”
There were no cancellations, rescheduling, or Covid cases on the 20-day shoot. “Those were always my prayer requests going into the shoots and they’ve always been answered. So I consider that somewhat miraculous,” O’Flaherty said. “Those prayers do matter, because as I sit here I have no explanation, or formula, or anything to offer of how we’ve been able to get to this point, and how it’s still going, other than, just that God has provided all along the way. So those prayers definitely are answered and heard, and they matter.”
When can viewers expect Season Two? O’Flaherty plans to release the first five episodes “sooner, rather than later,” while “working on the back five,” which he estimates to release late 2021.
The final in our 3 part Vindication series:
Vindication lead actress, Venus Monique, discusses shooting during the pandemic, and how working remotely for her “adulting” business, Personal Powerhouse, inspired her to launch The Sisterhood, a new project to help girls.
Watch Vindication Season 1 on Amazon Prime.
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Kristen Collier has a BA in English Literature and is co-founder with her husband, and Roku developer of, Creative Motion Network, a cutting-edge, free indie Christian Roku channel. She is also co-founder and animator of Collier Animation Studio, producer of Benny the Barnacle (2021).