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by Thomas M. Sipos, managing editor [June 5, 2012]





[]  In Ben Pohl's new film, Divination, a young couple are expecting their first child. Although they don't know it, it's to be a Very Special Child. Angels and demons stake out the couple's house, awaiting the blessed event while fighting for the couple's emotional loyalties ... and for control of the child.

It's hard not to find Christian themes in Divination. Like battled-hardened warriors, the angels -- Joshua (Philipp Aurand) and Daniel (James Grixoni) -- discuss their past exploits from the Old Testament. One demon is named Wormwood (a nod to C.S. Lewis?). Another curses God's love for these inferior humans, sounding like a jealous fallen angel. As for the expectant baby -- is this the Second Coming?

Even so, Pohl denies making an explicitly Christian film. "I believe the spiritual/fantasy elements in the story are generic enough that anybody can enjoy the story. Once the story comes full-circle, we understand how we humans are essentially in the same place, and need to stick together. It's my hope that everyone who sees the film will walk away feeling empowered, and can face their inner demons. We all have them."




I expected a supernatural-themed horror film, but Divination is not that. It's not especially scary. Its angels and demons sound more like opposing special ops forces than supernatural creatures. The film is verbose, its dialog -- part domestic drama, part spiritual discourse -- punctuated by effects-laden, martial arts combat between the forces of Light and Darkness.

If not horror, what is this film's genre? A cross between religious fantasy and action? Pohl prefers supernatural thriller. Spiritual thriller also works. Any of these labels are appropriate.



Divination's CGI effects are especially impressive. Its supernatural battles look like we've entered a high-definition video game, with stunts borrowed from The Matrix. Pohl himself created the effects. "That's my main profession. Post-production took two years. Visual inspiration stemmed from the drawings of Yoshitaka Amano and whatever I thought looked cool."

The effects were achieved with Adobe After Effects. The film was shot on a Panasonic HPX-170 and editor on Final Cut Pro. Pohl puts the budget at "roughly $150,000."

Divination was shot in Seattle. "I couldn't have asked for anything better," says Pohl. "The locations were gorgeous. The cast was amazing. I'm very proud of the entire cast and crew."

As for his training, Pohl says, "I went to the Art Institute of Seattle to study film. I'm currently doing independent work with Visual Effects and Motion Graphics for a variety of productions. Between gigs I'm working on a few more scripts."

He is self-distributing Divination. More information can be found on the film's website.



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