LOGLINE: "A loving grave yard keeper will not allow the dead to stay buried,
and those whom he knows he unburies."
Alternative: "In a world consumed by death, a father and his family encounter life in its truest form."
Synopsis: In a grave-world, the Grave Keeper keeps watch over the souls and bodies of those living and dead. Lazarus is chosen to be resurrected into this world and come to grips with the true natures of living and dying. He is given a book, the “Surgeon’s Proof,” which details how to share the same redemption with others.
Director & Writer: Spencer T. Folmar
Animator: Maddi Beck
Composer: TJ Wilkins
Producer: Holly L. Crumrine
Executive Producer: Thurman Mason
Artistic Director: Kara Brauen
Assistant Producer: Jason Spanogle
Concept Animation: Andrew Embury
Editors: Amber Shimel, Jason Spanogle, and Jeff Spanogle
RELEASED OCTOBER 31st, 2016
The story of the “The Great Surgeon” came to me in New Zealand in 2011. Near the end of my Bible schooling, I looked out the passenger van window and I saw what seemed to be an endless field of graves and tombs. I was struck by gratitude realizing that the graveyard is not really an ending to our lives, but really where we all begin. Ephesians 2:5 says, “ [He] made us alive with Christ, even when we were dead in our trespasses. It is by grace you have been saved!" This was the inspiration for eventually writing the screenplay for this short film.
A year after this experience, during my masters studies at Reformed Theological Seminary in Orlando, FL, I was granted permission to do an independent study with Professor John Muether. He advised me theologically as I wrote out the narrative and metaphorical storyline of “The Great Surgeon.” I knew, after finishing the first few drafts of the script, that this story wouldn’t lend itself to normal live action story conventions, but rather needed to be realized in animation.
In 2016, pre-production was rapidly picking up for my latest feature film, "Generational Sins." During that time, I had the crazy audacity to think I could search for a new animator who would work with me to finally, finally bring "The Great Surgeon" to life. Well, a truly miraculous thing happened, and a talented animator from Australia agreed to my out-of-pocket funding to animate this film.
I don't know what you will think of this self-financed animated short film. My goal is that it inspires hope in the face of impending and overwhelming death, that it helps you to believe again like a child in your dreams and aspirations, that in some small way it reinvigorates you to pursue life to its fullest.