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Ashes of Eden is a gritty new drama from LightWorx Entertainment that tells the story of 18 year-old Red. Red has made some bad choices, and he knows he’s made a lot of mistakes in his short life. Although he has already done his time, it seems he will never be done paying the consequences for his actions. He finds that having a bad reputation along with an inexplicable ability to always be in the wrong place at the wrong time is a bad mix and he can never seem to escape the broken world he finds himself in.
Although he is trying to do the right thing, he ends up back in the drug world selling stolen drugs to help his police officer mother make ends meet every month. When lives are lost and relationships are destroyed, Red begins to question his faith. Finding himself at the center of the struggle and unable to escape his dark path, can Red ever find redemption from his past? Although it may be possible, he quickly finds that redemption comes with a serious price. Ashes of Eden is a cautionary thriller with an important message.
We were able to talk to Shane Hagedorn, director of Ashes of Eden and get his thoughts on being a filmmaker and this particular project, Ashes of Eden. Shane has acted in several movies, including this film and the recently released 40 Nights movie. Below is the complete interview:
Can you give us a summary of Ashes of Eden? What is this film about and what do you want to communicate to your audience?
The troubled son of a police officer steals from a ruthless drug dealer to save his mother from financial ruin. His descent into the brutal drug world to raise the cash, he is hunted by the dealer, the police, and his own addictions.
ASHES OF EDEN is a gritty tale of addiction, betrayal, love, and redemption. This film is also about choices but above all, second chances.
Tell us a little about the journey to making Ashes of Eden. What led you to make a crime drama?
We shot ‘Ashes’ in 2012, but I was writing and developing it for several years. Finally when we premiered it in 2014 at a film festival, we had a record sell out crowd of over 600 people. I’ve always been interested in crime dramas, myself being in the security profession for over 20 years and have close ties to friends and people that are Law Enforcement Officers or LEOS. Around 2010, I met DJ Perry, a producer and actor that has worked on dozens and dozens of projects and happened to live in my city. We began a friendship and collaboration that has been rich and fun working together. He helped me produce AOE.
You’ve partnered with a few TV channels to broadcast Ashes of Eden in the coming months. That’s amazing! How do you feel knowing that this film will be seen by the masses?
That is ultimately what you want when you make a movie. Or, we can do Shakespeare in my basement that no one will see. J I feel really blessed to have been picked up by LightWorx Entertainment and will be playing on The Parables Network April 1, 2016 on the eve of our DVD release date of April 5, 2016. We had a limited theatrical run in Michigan and I’ve seen first hand the effect this film has had on an audience. The feedback was so positive and people really loved the story and related to the characters.
Do you have any current plans for future films? What are you working on now?
40 NIGHTS is having a limited theatrical run right now and will release worldwide on DVD in March just before Easter. I will be acting and helping produce the follow up film in the QUEST TRILOGY, CHASING THE STAR. Filming in Arizona with some of the talent that made 40 Nights. We are also developing a western to shoot Fall 2016 in Michigan.
It must be satisfying to bring a project like this to completion. What would you say to encourage someone who is launching a new project or creating a film of their own?
It is hard but rewarding work. Choose your projects carefully. Choose your team wisely. Give everything you have and always be learning from those around you. Pray for wisdom and discernment. Don’t go into this business for money or fame, because it will leave you unsatisfied. Keep creating and continue to grow as an artist. Challenge yourself and step out of your comfort zone. Be thankful for where you are now, not where you hope to be tomorrow. Hard work does pay off.
Thanks so much for your time, Curtis!
Ashes of Eden has been described as an “Urban American Graffiti” film that is a tale of consequences, choices, redemption, and ultimately faith. This is a fascinating tale about Red and his difficult experiences in the crime world. While Red has the desire for redemption, he struggles to understand how that works and how to break free. Ultimately, Red wants to do the right thing. He wants his mom to be happy and he wants to be able to provide for her. Unfortunately, the only methods he is able to find to help keep her afloat are illegal. Red wants to do the right thing, and through Ashes of Eden, he will learn that redemption is possible. But it comes at a very high price.
Ashes of Eden originally had a small theatrical release in Michigan, and now the film is being made available for anyone to see on DVD. If you love a good thriller, or are interested in learning more about the character of Red, we highly recommend you check out Ashes of Eden. This is a thrilling new drama that is sure to keep you on the edge of your seat until the very end!
18 year old Red made some bad choices. He has done his time and still paying the consequences.
Really humble movie. Only downside was they cut the swearing. It's really noticeable, should have just left it in. Still loved the movie (Posted on 7/7/16)
I really wanted to like this movie. I made myself watch it until the very end, hoping against hope that Red would hurry up and get a clue before something really terrible happened. I don’t deal with visual violence very well and actually got up and left the room more than once because I was afraid of what was coming next.
The movie begins with Red returning home after a short incarceration. Red has an attitude. It seems that he blames his police officer mother for his problems – or at least the fact that his dad left them and she has tried to raise him and his younger brother on her own. Over and over Red gives in to peer pressure from friends he should avoid, making one bad decision after another that get him deeper and deeper in trouble. Unfortunately every time he has the opportunity to choose to do the right thing, he makes the wrong choice. The movie goes on interminably like this with alcohol, drugs, sex, violence, and criminal activity until it all hits the fan in a heartbreaking way.
Yes, Red had to hit bottom before his redemption but I did not need to be exposed to close to two hours of his descent. There was almost no indication that “Ashes of Eden” is even a Christian film with only a passing reference to God or Jesus. Then at the very end the viewer is abruptly treated to a brief scene with Red sharing his testimony with a room full of men in prison garb – very brief. Nowhere do we see Red making a decision for Christ but we must assume he did based on the fact that he is sharing with other prisoners.
This is not a movie that I would recommend to anyone and would strongly advise parents to watch before allowing their children to view it. The movie is unrated but I did see more than one site that had strong parental warnings about it. One reviewer said he would rate it at least a PG-13. I would have to agree. I am much older than that and it did not sit well with me.
(Posted on 6/15/16)
Ashes of Eden is a good movie that can teach us lots of things.
I must admit that the beginning was very slow. I know you have to get all of the back story, but it could have moved along quicker.
A police officer is trying to raise her two sons alone, but is having lots of financial troubles. Her older son, Red gets in with the wrong crowd, but wants to help his mother. So he steals drugs to sell. So his troubles get worse and worse.
His mother tries to keep him out of trouble with the law, which is her first mistake. Then Red gets kicked out of school and lands up in trouble again. So his mother kicks him out of the house.
He gets into trouble deeper and deeper. People are being killed and he is on the run.
The conclusion of Ashes of Eden is really thrilling. You will be sitting on the edge of your seat. I like the ending of the movie and will recommend it for all. It saddens me to see people get involved in the drug trade or crime. Sometimes it seems there’s no way out. I like the theme No man can serve two masters. Really good.
One thing I didn't care for was the use of the language. I don't believe movies need swearing. This movie blocked out the swear words. I don't think that is any better than swearing. Just my opinion.
“Disclosure of Material Connection: I received one of the products mentioned above for free in the hope that I would mention it on my blog. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”
(Posted on 6/8/16)
In our culture, it seems like we get used to the glamorous films of Hollywood. Everything's professionally, smoothly done. The acting is believable. The lines flow. So, it's interesting to watch independent films that aren't as professionally, smoothly done, where the acting is sometimes stilted, and the lines don't always flow.
How does one judge these films? Are they good? bad? worth watching?
I watched one of these films yesterday. This film--Ashes of Eden. The movie is about an 18 year old boy--he's really a boy in a man's body. His mom is a cop and he's gotten out of the joint. He returns to high school to find that he's been expelled. All he's got is the ability to sell drugs. And a girlfriend.
This is a Christian film, but it isn't as heavy handed as many I've seen (like The Princess Cut). The filming is clearly independent film quality. The acting is okay. The plot's okay. The credits were well done and remind me of the projects my brother in law worked on when he was in college.
If you enjoy crime dramas and want something a little less violent than a lot of what's out there, this would be an option. It does have some cussing and some violence. It is a redeeming story filled with tough decisions--the stuffings of life. To some people, this film might not seem realistic. But, it is to me. I know several families who've had to make very tough decisions about their children's involvement in drugs. This story tells some of their stories.
This film is not rated and I think that's one of the big questions that parents, like me have. What age is this movie appropriate for? In this day and age, it would probably get a PG rating, though as a parent I'd give it a PG-13 rating for content.
Please note that I received a complimentary copy of this movie from FishFlix.com for review. (Posted on 6/7/16)
Great message, great acting! (Posted on 4/11/16)
Great performances by characters that are relatable. Such a deep and drawing story that keeps a great pace and music is another highlight. A small film with a big feel in the production value. A must see. (Posted on 3/16/16)
Although I'm not a Christian I fully appreciate the message of this movie; the idea that a young man who's carrying his troubles close to him and is having difficulty finding a way to communicate his pain often finds himself in situations brought about by following the path of least resistance (which I feel is found allegorically in the Devil). But if you find a way to channel the strength within you, whether one believes that's God given or not, and find love within yourself and within those who care for you, you can find your way to the right choices and to one of redemption. I work with troubled youth and find that the ones who make it are the ones that find this love and this strength within themselves. Whatever your faith I think this small independent film will resonates within the heart and soul of those who understand the message. (Posted on 3/1/16)