Written and directed by Eric Downs, A Dreamer’s Search tells the true story of Rockwell Kent. Well, more accurately, the story is of one brief but very important moment in the beloved artist’s life. Does such a narrow focus help audiences invest, or is it an impediment to those unfamiliar with Rockwell Kent’s output?
In the summer of 1918, Rockwell (Bradford James Jackson) and his son, Rockie (Iver Mitchell), make the long trek to Alaska. Rockwell comes here because he feels his artistic creativity is stifled as he lacks real-world experiences. In Alaska, they stay at a prospector’s cabin while said person, Lars (Steven Brant Hill), helps them become attuned with nature. Will Rockwell find the inspiration he’s looking for?
“…he feels his artistic creativity is stifled as he lacks real-world experiences.”
Coming in a hair short of 30 minutes, A Dreamer’s Search packs quite a lot in. There’s the main thread of Rockwell rediscovering his artistic passions. A parallel plot involving the father and son bonding is present, as is everything Lars teaches the two leads. While a feature-length biopic might be interesting, this snapshot still proves engaging because Downs doesn’t let a second tick by that doesn’t further the narrative or character arc to some degree.
But the real star of the show is the cinematography Quinton Oliver Smith (who also serves as an editor with Bradford James Jackson). The film is beautiful, capturing the majesty of nature well. For those asking, yes, some shots replicate some of Kent’s most well-known paintings to great effect.
A Dreamer’s Search is well-acted and is, thankfully, very different than a traditional biography. The score captures the mood wonderfully, while the visuals are truly magnificent. All in all, Downs’ short will inspire anyone who watches it.
"…the visuals are truly magnificent."