United States / 100 min / 2015
Set in the distinctive world of storefront churches, and based on actual events, Free in Deed depicts one man’s attempts to perform a miracle. When a single mother brings her young boy to church for healing, this lonely pentecostal minister is forced to confront the seemingly incurable illness of the child and his own demons.
Winner Orizzonti Best Film Prize, Venice 2015, Malatya Best Film, Nashville Best Actor, Ecumenical Prize, Independent Spirit noms Best Film, Best Actor, Best Cinematography, Cassavetes Award, among other screenings and awards…
Development support provided by Sundance Filmmaker Labs, Cannes Atelier, Rome Festival Open Cinema, Creative Capital Foundation, Guggenheim Memorial Foundation, Rockefeller Media Arts Fellowship, Bellagio Study Center, LEF Moving Image Fund, Annenberg Foundation, post by New Zealand Film Commission.
“Mahaffy’s film offers an illuminating immersion into the rarely-depicted world of storefront churches…a deserving winner of top honors in Venice’s Horizons strand.” Variety
“If Bresson had set “Diary of a Country Priest” in an African-American storefront church in Memphis, it might have turned out like Jake Mahaffy’s challenging spiritual odyssey. Through its oblique, impressionistic, and intense narrative, Mahaffy’s film is a cathartic rite in itself.” – Ty Burr/Peter Keogh, The Boston Globe
“Free in Deed is without question one of the most accomplished and vital independent dramas of recent memory.” – Michael Tully, Hammer to Nail
“Mahaffy’s uncompromising approach, and the quality of its performances, make it a rare and valuable testament: to the terrible danger of believing in miracles, and to the cruelty of a world that might make such belief necessary.” The Playlist
“The gripping drama finds experimental filmmaker Jake Mahaffy… maintaining a distinctive aesthetic slant, at once pensive and visceral. With its immersive textures and refusal to wrap-up a charged and complex subject in tidy messages, it could make art-house inroads in the hands of a sensitive distributor.” – Sheri Linden, The Hollywood Reporter
“A visionary achievement… the first in recent memory to confront the issue of Faith so eloquently through the prism of Race and Class…” – Evan Louison, Hammer to Nail
“Jake Mahaffy’s impressionistic and distressing “Free in Deed” tells the story of a single mother… who’s willing to do anything she can to help her son. Immersive to the extreme, Mahaffy’s film takes viewers inside a world where tragedy and hope blur together into a cacophony of desperation.” – David Ehrlich, Indiewire
“Free in Deed is a fever pitch of prayer, praise, torment, and attempted healings… The end credits rolled to an audibly stunned audience.” – J. Ryan Parker, Patheos
“Jake Mahaffy’s film dares, like France’s great director, Robert Bresson, to raise the most fundamental of spiritual questions…” – Gerald Peary, Artsfuse