Film series shot in Burleson highlights struggles with faith
Could Burleson be the next destination for film producers? “Vindication”, an award-winning production by local director Jarod O’Flaherty was filmed in different locations in Burleson and Johnson County and premiered its first four episodes at Venue 510 late March.
“Vindication” is a film series that follows Detective Travis, played by Midlothian resident Todd Terry. The series explores a different investigation that Travis is working on in each episode. This style of storytelling keeps each episode fresh and attention-grabbing. O’Flaherty wanted it that way.
Episode One of “Vindication” started as a short film. O’Flaherty sent the film to various competitions and film festivals, where “Vindication” quickly garnered attention. The episode was an official selection at the Hill Country Film festival, San Antonio Film Festival, and Fort Worth Indie Festival. It was named best short film at the 2017 Christian Worldview Film Fest, the 2016 KingdomWood Film Festival and the 2016 Churches Making Movies Film Festival.
“Pretty soon after all that, we got a distribution offer and we got some streaming deals,” O’Flaherty said. “We got the push to do more because there was a demand.”
“Vindication” follows the same theme each episode but explores a new topic.
“Each episode has its own plot line,” O’Flaherty said. “In the first episode, the audience doesn’t know what the crime is or if the man being investigated is guilty or innocent.”
Through a series of flashbacks, O’Flaherty said, the man describes what happened and by the end of the episode, the audience has a pretty good idea of what happened.
While each episode of “Vindication” is different, the common theme is Det. Travis. As you watch more of the episodes, you are able to see what is going on in Travis’ life with his family and daughter and he quickly develops his own plot line.
“Travis has his own struggles going on in his life,” O’Flaherty said. “You see that played out pretty quickly and that just adds to the story.”
Though “Vindication” follows a police investigator and tells stories involving crime, O’Flaherty started the series as a ministry project for Retta Baptist Church, where he is a member. O’Flaherty wanted to tell the stories in “Vindication” without coming across as overly Christian.
“Each episode does have a faith element, whether it’s a matter of salvation or themes that are common to biblical teachings,” O’Flaherty said. “One of our goals was not to be too in your face with a sermon.”
Det. Travis isn’t a believer himself, but encounters the “thumbprint of God,” in each episode, O’Flaherty said.
“My thought was that when we did each episode, I wouldn’t want anyone to feel uncomfortable if I showed it to a neighbor or friend who doesn’t go to church,” he said. “I know it’s still there, but it’s a good story, a real story.”
“Vindication” was filmed in Burleson and Johnson County. O’Flaherty is from the Burleson area himself and met his wife at Retta Baptist Church.
Cinematographer Ron Gonzalez is also from Burleson. Episodes were filmed at Venue 510, a Burleson apartment complex, local residents’ houses and Villa Diana restaurant.
“Even though this is a Retta project, several local churches opened up their facilities and let us film there for free,” O’Flaherty said. “The story is set in a small town so it made sense to film in this area and Burleson was very open to us filming here.”
The first episode of “Vindication” is free to view on Amazon. If you have an Amazon Prime account, if you do not have an account, you can still watch the episode with ads. Future episodes will be released as the series wraps up.