Bible-Themed Short Wins Its British Maker a Trip to LA

How does one connect a passage from the Bible to the infamous McCarthy era? If you’re Simon Cookson (pictured), it all starts with the conversion of Saul on the road to Damascus in Acts 9:1-31.

Cookson was recently declared the winner at Pinewood Studios of The Pitch, an annual short film competition that awards a £25,000 production budget and trip to Los Angeles. This fall, the maker of The Light will come to Los Angeles with a friend or family member and get to meet with – among others – Ralph Winter, producer of the X-Men franchise. From the film description:

A police lieutenant during the Red Scare of the 1950s suddenly rejects his former oppressive ways, but realises the biggest struggle will be to convince everyone else he’s truly a changed man…  As we follow Merle, from bully with a badge to hanger-on and speaker at The Way, dreaming of jazz and freedom, we witness a seismic shift, both in one man and in a people. The Light is the story of a man with a past that he’s trying to forget, and a society that might not want to let him.

“What drew me in was not just the conversion itself, but the fact that Saul seemed tragically doomed to be forever followed by his past,” Cookson states. “Saul’s world shares so many parallels with the McCarthyite early 50s and the climate of suspicion and distrust that permeated that era.”