Susquehanna County filmmaker Kerry Patton releases ‘Dark of Light’ this fall
When a parent experiences the loss of a child from the hands of another human being, there are no guidelines for coping with grief.
“What would I do?” is the question that motivated Kerry Patton to develop the story line in his latest film.
“Dark of Light” follows the intense torment of a retired military interrogator whose daughter is taken from him by a child predator. The film, shot mostly in Susquehanna County, was created on a budget less than $10,000 with a few actors and the help of Scranton producer Mark Denebaum and Montrose co-writer and producer Edward Luecke.
Patton, a father of four, was kept up at night by the story behind the nonprofit organization, Marley’s Mission, whose founder’s 5-year-old daughter was sexually assaulted in her Taylor home. It inspired him to explore his own conflicted thoughts in a fictional script.
“We’ve been socially conditioned in America, because we are a first-world country, that we have a justice system that is truly just and impartial and fair,” Patton said. “Yet human nature tells us that we are animals that protect our flock, our own.”
Patton had a successful career as a military specialist, defense contractor, teacher and author before he entered the film industry. He believes in a minimalist approach to creating intriguing cinema.
The Susquehanna County resident was introduced to the industry when a Los Angeles producer had an interest in turning one of his books — he couldn’t say which — into a movie. The film didn’t come to fruition, but Patton kept his tie with the producer who asked Patton to be a technical advisor on a few projects.
While advising on FX’s “Legit,” Patton was thrown into the role of stunt man and landed stunt and acting roles on “Librarians,” “Banshee” and, currently WGN America’s “Outsiders.”
As his main character embarks on a path of vigilance, fueled by an inadequate justice system, Patton and crew tell the story with little dialogue, mild violence and an attention to setting.
“Because of the intensity of the movie, you don’t need a lot of dialogue,” Patton said. “You need to show people are in thought, people are in distress, people are full of emotion.”
Interrogation scenes in the film tend to be more suggestive than outwardly violent.
“We don’t need to see somebody get their head blown off,” Patton said. “That’s not impactful. What’s more impactful is seeing the soldier that took that shot for the first time, their reaction, their emotion, because it’s an emotional state.”
With only four actors, including a short appearance by Patton’s daughter, the film employs long, panning shots of Susquehanna County.
“Here, in Northeastern Pennsylvania, we have some of the most pristine scenery in the entire country, in my opinion,” Patton said. “If you can capture the scenery with these emotions, you’re making the emotions stand out that much better. It’s almost as if you have a supporting actor.”
The film is scheduled for release on Amazon Prime, ITunes and Vimeo in late October or early November, but Patton won’t be taking it to any film festivals.
“My reward is being able to accomplish our goals: filming in such a short amount of time with such a small cast, crew and budget,” Patton said. “I hope it gives hope to other aspiring artists to say to themselves, ‘With today’s technology, I don’t need to spend a ton of money.’”
Reach Matt Mattei at 570-991-6651