Award-winning short documentary film, A Shepherd (Dir. Vern Moen), was recently released to the public on Amazon Video Direct. Filmed in the Spring of 2016 in the Willamette Vally of Oregon, the film tells the story of Joe Wells, a young shepherd dealing with the modern struggles of his ancient trade.
“When I grow up, I want to be a shepherd.”, says Director Vern Moen, who originally bartered with Joe to teach him everything he knows in exchange for a short promo film. “I don’t have many real-world skills outside of filmmaking, so I had to trade what I do know for what I want to know.”
Together with Swedish Cinematographer Robin Asselmeyer, and Vern running sound, the two ate, drank, and slept in the barn with Joe for one week during lambing season - the busiest time on the farm as a shepherd must assist with lambing ewes at all times of the day and night.
“As we we're there, in the quiet of the dimly lit barn in middle of the night, the story started to unfold, and it was much more poetic, heart-wrenching, and beautiful than we expected - and we realized we had something a bit more special than a ‘promo’ film.”, says Vern.
The film is an incredibly intimate view into the quiet, concurrent human/animal struggles of life and death. It’s poetic, educational, and surprising as we see the workings of a young shepherd, his dog, and his flock.
A Shepherd is directed and produced by Vern Moen / Long Beach Film Company, cinematography by Robin Asselmeyer, edited by Andreas Arvidsson, Music by Joe Wells, and filmed on Red Dragon with vintage Nikon lenses. The film made it’s world premiere at Big Sky Film Festival, and went on to show at San Luis Obispo International Film Festival, Telluride MountainFilm Festival, and Bend Film Festival where it won the Special Jury prize for best short film.
Vern still hopes to become a shepherd one day.