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A modern shepherd tending his flock looks for spiritual resonance in age-old work

Joe Wells is a practising Catholic who believes that his work as a shepherd gives him something of a window into the divine, with each day exposing him to cycles of life and death. But although he finds a meaningful resonance between his job and his faith, the day-to-day realities of his all-consuming work are unromantic at best and brutal at worst, leading him to conclude: ‘It’s a world you manipulate but you don’t control.’ The US filmmaker Vern Moen’s The Shepherd profiles Wells as he tends to his sheep in the Willamette Valley in Oregon. With Wells himself providing a rustic violin score, the sparse and poignant short captures how this millennia-old line of work quietly endures, in many ways unchanged, even in the most industrialised countries.

Director: Vern Moen

Producer: Filip Kiisk

Website: Long Beach Film Company

28 April 2020

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