In an aesthetically stunning scene from a film titled ‘Third Timothy,’ a young Black boy fills two glass bottles with water from a waterfall in the woods. The trees are bare and the sky is grey. Barefoot, the boy walks slowly on wet rocks trimmed with damp autumn leaves.
The boy aims to peddle the bottles as holy water with his brother. Together, they travel the rural South selling fake holy water to people desperate for miracles in hopes of escaping their abusive foster home to live with their uncle. The boys witness preachers in their community take collection for the church and use it for their personal gain, influencing them to take advantage of people to make better lives for themselves.
‘Third Timothy’ was written and directed by Julian Walker of the Kinfolk Collective, a group of filmmakers out of Chicago who “trace the overlaps and commonalities between members of the African Diaspora.” Walker co-founded the collective with videographer Darren Wallace.
Walker grew up in a community heavily influenced by Christianity. Watching corrupt preachers use collection funds for their personal benefit prompted him to make the film. ‘Third Timothy’ aims to explore social issues in the Bible Belt, specifically racism, religion, corruption and poverty. “There are many depictions and conversations surrounding the idea of crooked pastors,” said Walker, “but how many have you seen explore the effects of their actions on young people? How many times have you had an 11-year-old boy try to sell you holy water? I intend to take a fresh approach to the ‘crooked preacher’ issue by showing these situations and more in ‘Third Timothy.’”
The Kinfolk Collective also have a number of other projects, including an Artist Portrait film about Chicago-based rapper Tree called ‘Damn Near Made It,’ and an experimental short called ‘Bluebird’ featuring a reading of the Charles Bukowski poem by the same name. Their latest project, ‘Savage vs. The Void,’ premiered on April 25, 2014 in Chicago, and explores the feelings Wallace experienced after the execution of Troy Davis. Watch more short films by the Kinfolk Collective here.