Private Project

Prodigal Son

Howard and Don find their fraternal connection fading away as they take on their family farm. A stolen stop sign will pose an ultimatum for both of them.

  • Ryan Gagnet
  • Ryan Gagnet
  • Landon Tavernier
    Key Cast
  • Noah Tye
    Key Cast
  • Project Type:
  • Runtime:
    15 minutes
  • Completion Date:
    September 22, 2017
  • Production Budget:
    200 USD
  • Country of Origin:
    United States
  • Country of Filming:
    United States
  • Shooting Format:
  • Aspect Ratio:
  • Film Color:
  • First-time Filmmaker:
  • Student Project:
Director Biography - Ryan Gagnet

Ryan Gagnet is a filmmaker based in Maumee Ohio.

Add Director Biography
Director Statement

This film was conceived on a sunny day in rural Ohio, June of 2017. I had just completed my first year of college, and was coasting into the warm breeze of summer break. I was driving around listening to Bruce Springsteen’s album “Born to Run.” The album captures the nostalgia of leaving a small town, making sacrifices and struggling to make ends meet. A wave of inspiration came over as I listened. I saw a vision of a biker. His face was flushed, tears in his eyes, as he cruised fast down a road through a ravenous thunderstorm. I began to imagine personal details about him: his marriage, his job, the secrets he kept, the promises he couldn’t keep. Soon I was seeing the world of the film and hearing the voices of the characters. I spent hours daydreaming and visualizing scenes and realized that the heart of the film would be about brotherhood. The film was going to be a portrait of two brothers dealing with loss, and their conflicting values as they bear the weight of their father’s legacy. Visually, the camera would be restrained throughout, acting as a passive observer of the brothers from an indifferent, almost omnipotent perspective. Through the use of static shots, I would emphasize the stillness of the world around the young men.

Most importantly, the film would honor the experience of farm life in Northwest Ohio. I wanted to celebrate the beautiful landscapes, the miles of soy and corn fields, the rustic barns and homes, and other relics passed on from one generation to the next. I grew up in this place. I love it here. And I was determined to capture it in all its expanse, in all its sweat, in all its pain and glory.

That summer, I spent days and weeks reaching out to friends and family, acquiring props, locations, and other necessities required to make the film. It was a stressful yet exciting time for me. Production began in early August and took place over a grueling four day period. Equipped with a two man crew, a shoestring budget of 300 dollars, and maybe a little naiveté, my friends and I were able to realize this story.

As I send this film into the world, I am unsure how audiences will react to it. My hope is that they lean in, engage, and see some part of themselves in Don and Howard, the main characters. I hope they feel the beauty and sorrow of rural American life as depicted. I hope they find identification in the story we told. I am offering them a window into the world that I know, and I hope it’s worth something.