Easter holidays usually bring with them their own brand of religious film releases which more often than not tend to be schmaltzy and overly sentimental American imports. With release schedules thrown into complete chaos and cinemas closed to the public due to the current lockdown, it’s encouraging to see smaller production companies stepping up to the challenge, albeit on a much smaller scale.
One of those production companies is Four8, a small British outfit which is pioneering the use of top-class filmmaking, acting and writing talent, to bring us some impressive and high-quality content with its “I Am” series. The series aims to introduce biblical characters in timeless settings and new interpretations.
Directed by Femi Oyeniran (Adulthood, Kidulthood, Turn Up Charlie), I Am Pilate is the latest short in this series. At just over 11 minutes long, the film seeks to tell the story of Pontius Pilate, the fifth governor of the Roman province of Judaea, a man best known for being the official who presided over the trial of Jesus and who ordered his crucifixion.
I Am Pilate follows the story of Joseph Hau (Jazz Lintott), a journalist who is sent to the home of former district governor Jeremy Pilate (Shaun Scott) on a routine fact-checking mission for an upcoming obituary. Hau soon realises that the former politician has been consumed by actions performed in his youth, shameful actions which have resulted in a lifetime of regret, torment and obsessive hand-washing.
We follow as Pilate recounts a particular story from his time as governor (played as younger man by Jamie Kristian), a story about a man named Alexander Newman (Kayode Akinyemi) who left a lasting impression on him.
Femi Oyeniran presents a deftly handled and beautifully acted interpretation of this timeless story. Elevated by its brilliantly eclectic and diverse cast, the film offers a chance to look at these ancient stories with a modern eye and in more contemporary settings.
I Am Pilate, and preceding short, I Am Joseph are both available to stream on the Four8’s YouTube channel.
I Am Pilate will be shown on London Live on 12th April.