Blessed are They That Fear The Lord

1875.

In the cold light of an early morning the rebellious American-born Ada sneaks out of a Grand Mansion, saddles her horse and flees. She is making her way South where she wants to catch a ship from Bristol Harbor back to America.

Traveling on horseback she stays off the roads and sleeps in forests, running away, hiding, erasing all her traces. Having to escape two henchmen that have been sent after her she continues her strenuous journey, meeting the young Eliza who she tries to persuade to leave her violent husband, and the hunter Jonathan who helps her after she injured herself. As she finally arrives at her relatives’ place outside Bristol she has to realize that she is still far from safety as her husband, who she is running away from, will put up a fight before letting her leave him and the country.

Leoni's Statement

Entering the film industry as a young filmmaker can be daunting. Entering the film industry as a woman even more so. Every day I get reminded of things like the wage gap and the staggeringly small percentage of major motion pictures being directed by women. Ask people about a female director they know and they probably will be able to think of one or two, but their names certainly aren't lodged into our brains and film history as names like Tarantino, Spielberg, or Kubrick.

Below the surface this film is dealing with these thoughts and fears of mine and of a lot of young women in the industry, but in a different context.

With Blessed are They that Fear the Lord I want to tell the story of a young woman who has the courage to escape the boundaries that society and the time she lives in have put upon her. She leaves a secure but emotionally harmful environment and takes the risk of failing, of being defeated by men & nature, while having to come to terms with a powerful internal struggle: she is desperate for retrieving her richness of life, yet she is not always sure if she can pull through and doubting wether she is doing the right thing.

For the shoot we have secured a beautiful Mansion. As well as providing us with beautiful interiors the Mansion is located in Shropshire near the Welsh border and Snowdonia - which is a huge advantage as location plays a crucial role in the visual story. The wide vistas, giant mountains, overawing scenery, and the rough power of nature not only create physical challenges for Ada, but also mirror her mental struggle.

My goal is to create a visually stunning film, showing the struggle, but also the incredible strength of a young woman in a time where women’s rights where only starting to become a publicly discussed issue.