This short film, Outlawed Faith, takes the Firefly motif to the next logical step. It’s a full on Steampunk society, but with a great classic Western story line. A good Western is always a morality play, good versus evil, often in mixed proportions in both the heroes and the villains, and the trailer for Outlawed Faith demonstrates real promise.

When the opening scene rolls, we are treated to something astonishing for a short film: a fully realized Western town, but with a twist.  Old and new are mixed in wildly anachronistic proportions, with the denizens of this town decked out in varying degrees of Steampunk and Cyberpunk attire and weapons. It’s a bit like an armed camp, really, and tensions are high.

And for good reason. Barnabas Klinkerton (played by William K. Walton) runs the town with an iron fist, and is used to getting what he wants. He’s not afraid of using hired muscle to get it, either. What he wants now is for a young boy named Jonah (Adam Posacki) to hand over his younger sisters Celine and Cora (played by real life sisters Celine and Cora Newcomb), because one of them is a Seer. Nobody’s quite clear on which one, but Klinkerton doesn’t care. A good Seer goes for a lot of money on the gray market, and for good reason. Being able to keep one step ahead of future events can make a man very wealthy.

What stands in his way is a reformed gunslinger named Kulta Blackhand (Lyon Beckwith). He has a devoted sidekick named Rico, who does most of his talking, but once Kulta gets a notion in his head he doesn’t let it go. The idea he gets is that Klinkerton has to be stopped from getting his hands on that little girl at all costs. Yes, there’s a classic Western barroom shoot-out, but with all sorts of unlikely steampunk/sci-fi weapons.

The film starts with some expositional material, and we’re introduced to Sheriff Kane (Michael J. Patterson), who seems to be being set up as a strong, pivotal character. Patterson seems to be channeling Will Smith in both his looks and his on-camera charisma, and he’s not the only strong actor in the troupe. Lyon Beckwith delivers a magnetic, powerful performance, and it’s not just because he’s built like a walking mountain. When the camera is on him, you are aware of every line, of every muscle twitch, of the slightest intonation. The central character needs to have this kind of screen presence.

What you’ve just watched is essentially a proof of concept. The Kickstarter campaign seeks to raise $20,000 USD to help with the next phase of getting this idea made into a feature film. The budget for the finished film will be something around $1.2 million, but they hope to raise that final amount from production investors. They just need a little help getting that slingshot effect so that they can get their unique idea in front of the people with the money that could make the finished film happen.

The production company is The Forge Studios, and up to now they’ve been doing fantasy episodic film making. They believe, as Krypton Media Group does (the parent company that owns Krypton Radio) that transmedia distribution is the future of popular media, and Outlawed Faith represents their first foray into this wild,  new, mostly uncharted territory.

The central figure in all this is Ron Newcomb. A former Marine, turned police officer, turned filmmaker, Ron is making independent films because this is where his heart led him. Curiously, while the film lists a rather large number of producers (including Ron) and co-producers, there is no writer’s credit, and no director’s credit. What stands out in this enormous list of screen credits, though, is how many family members there are. It seems like whole families got involved in making this short film. This is the power of creativity, the power of belief in something wonderful. All these people did this, presumably for little or no money in most cases, because they believe in the project, they believe in Ron, and they have faith that all this has a destiny they can be part of. The fact that the producer and director put all those names up but didn’t bother to highlight themselves shows their dedication and love for their own production family, and the love that they put into this film shows in every frame.

We think it’s a brilliant concept, and in a world of repetitive fan films and OMG-are-they-rebooting-that-franchise-AGAIN? movies, maybe the world needs a film like Outlawed Faith. If you’ve a mind to, go drop a few bucks on this and help them out.

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