Local filmmaker and founder of Panvenni Films, Murphy Tom, is hard at work once again on his next film project, entitled “Test of Man: The Dumerian Sanction.”
The film is a sci/fi action adventure and it follows the story of two Army veterans as they journey deep into the woods on a truffle-hunting expedition, only to end up locked in an epic battle that — unbeknownst to them — will determine the fate of the world.
Starring in the lead roles are real-life veterans and martial arts experts Barry A. Broughton and Charlie Love, both of AKT Combatives Academy on North Union Street in Olean. The film will be screened to the public at the Quick Center for the Arts at St. Bonaventure University on Sept. 29.
And with time quickly winding down to the screening, it should come as no surprise that the cast and crew breathed a great sigh of relief when the final bit of footage for the film — a sword fight scene that will be a part of the film’s opening sequence — was captured May 31 at the historic Stone Tower in Allegany State Park near Salamanca.
Tom, who is also the film’s director, says the site was chosen because the scene is meant to depict the year 223 B.C. during the Qin Dynasty, and had to seem authentic to that period. And one might agree that nothing says ancient like a tower made of stone.
“It was quite a challenge trying to find a location that would convincingly represent the majesty and realism of ancient China on a non-existent budget,” Tom says, as he addressed the obstacles independent filmmakers have to overcome in order to realize their visions.
But he asserts that park manager Thomas Livak was “very accommodating and did everything in his power to facilitate the shoot.”
The actors for that sword-fight sequence, Richard Ko and his teenage daughter, Jaelyn Wojewoda-Ko, of Allegany, are both novice thespians who had never done any serious acting or sword wielding before, but rose to the challenge and completed the task with all limbs intact.
When asked about the inspiration behind the film, Tom was quick to point out that this was, first and foremost, an opportunity to shoot some really intense fight scenes, as well as dabble in science-fiction, two things he’s been longing to do in earnest for quite some time now.
“The plot does indeed present a thought-provoking scenario about mankind’s slow but steady moral degeneration,” Tom says, “which no one can deny is evidenced by the unbelievable atrocities being committed on a daily basis and fed directly into our living rooms through the mass media. But I believe that everyone will leave with their own take-away from the film, which is essentially the point of art in any form.”
Anyone seeking more information about the screening for “Test of Man: The Dumerian Sanction,” can follow Panvenni Films on Facebook by typing @panvenni into their search engine.