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Lonely Wolf International
Film Festival 2022 

John Cranman
The Promise
May 7, 2022

As decades pass, a childless elderly couple come to the end of their rope. But appearances can be deceiving. When things become darkest, something completely unexpected happens. Past promises once thought broken are suddenly realised, but not in way that one can predict.

Hello John, it’s great to get to talk with you, how have you been keeping after everything that’s been happening?

Doing much better as things have finally gotten back to a semblance of normal. 2020 was rough as you know, our industry was hit hard from everything. 


How have you managed to stay positive and busy?

Not going to lie, things came to a halt and that shook me. I had to put some larger projects on hold so I just focused on doing smaller stuff and just staying busy with what I could and trying to release the things that were out of my control. I had to do that repeatedly lol. 


The Promise was a Finalist at Lonely Wolf, what has it meant to you to get this type of response to your film?


It's incredible to be honest.

This is my first film, so I feel very blessed that it got the traction it did and that others seem to get something out of it. Connecting with an audience of any kind is the highest goal for any director. 


How important are festivals like Lonely Wolf in championing and supporting indie filmmakers?

I think Lonely Wolf is probably the best online fest I’ve ever been a part of. It's clear that they are here to build up the filmmaker and encourage them as much as possible. They are very personable and you can feel it through the emails and the way they go about things. It's great for a filmmaker. I actually entered another project into their next fest!


Can you tell me how The Promise came about, what inspired this film?

It came from an idea I was tossing around in my mind - an old Bible story really, about Abraham and Sarah, who were over a 100 years old before God gave them a child. I wondered what that would look like if they were just ordinary retirees in the modern day, like how shocking that would be. Also the story has a deeper meaning because it points to Christ as the ultimate child of promise.  And so that's where it came from. 

What were the biggest challenges you faced making The Promise?

The biggest challenge was that I was wearing too many hats as this was my first time making a film. I was coordinating all the actors, doing rehearsals, handling locations, extras, scheduling, making changes in the script, directing, AND handling food! And on top of that I needed knee surgery! First day was 18 hours long! I was popping Advil all day. 


"...I always loved film and created movie ideas and music videos in my head before I ever picked up a camera."

When working on a film like The Promise how close did you like to keep to your screenplay, did you give yourself much flexibility?

I went in trying to keep it as close to the screenplay as I could, but I ended up having to cut so much out of it. It just didn't work how I imagined, which was another lesson. There is a difference between what you imagine and what things actually look like. So I had to adjust. One of my actors was a little upset because of all the scenes that had to be cut. lol And I felt that. But the end product is what dictates what stays or goes. It was tough. 


Looking back is there anything you would do differently on this film?

I would get more help on set, and also better prepare for knowing the difference between what I imagine for the screenplay and what actually works. 


Have you aways had a passion for filmmaking?

I call myself a “closet” filmmaker. Filmmaking came to me later in life. But I always loved film and created movie ideas and music videos in my head before I ever picked up a camera. So I think I was a filmmaker at heart in some sense. 


What would you say has been the most valuable lesson you’ve taken from making The Promise? 


How to streamline between the initial concept and the finished product. 


Do you have any tips or advice you would offer anyone thinking about making their first short film?

Put everything you've got into it and let the chips fall where they may. Expect going in that it will be tough. And push yourself to try something you haven't done before. This way you will keep growing. 


What themes will you explore with future films?

Themes of faith, the good, the true, and the beautiful. Just good stories really. 

And finally, what would you like audiences to take away from The Promise?

That a miracle can come no matter how dark things look.

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