Kevin Sorbo stars as Abel, a man with a dark past but a guiding faith in this movie about a respect and friendship, and ultimate faith. The friendship is between two unlikely people – Seth McArdle (Samuel Davis), a young man unfairly shouldered with the task of raising two younger sisters and Abel, the groundskeeper at his high school. Samuel Davis plays Seth McArdle. When he’s bullied at school by the football team, Seth fights back, is singled out for punishment and then assigned to an after-school work detail under Abel. Much to his surprise, Seth discovers that Abel may be the only one who truly understands his struggles. As dark times lure Seth toward desperate measures, the reluctant Abel may be the one person who can point him back toward the light.
At first the two don’t like each other, but as their friendship grows and is tested, the importance of real mentoring becomes apparent throughout the movie. Small wonder Kevin would like this script, he said it spoke to him in the first 20 pages. In real life, Kevin is actually a mentor as the spokesperson and past Chairman of A World Fit For Kids, and established a golf tournament to fundraise for the charity, which mentors inner city youths through after school programs.
Kevin has been recognized for his efforts by General Colin Powell and Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, whom he succeeded as the national spokesperson for The Afterschool Alliance, an organization that isworking to ensure that all children have access to affordable, quality afterschool programs. He was the keynote speaker for the U.S. Department of Education’s 2008 presentation of 21st Century Community Learning Center grantees, Sorbo hailed afterschool program providers as our community’s real-life heroes—organizations and individuals who are transforming the lives of youth, helping them discover the heroes in themselves. Kevin Sorbo is constantly searching for good scripts that speak to him like “Abel’s Field,” with clear messages of faith and spirituality.
The mentoring aspect of the Abel’s Field resonated with Kevin. He grew up in a small town in Minnesota, where a sense of community and strong work ethic produced a life for the young people which is “similar to what they call mentoring these days, they just didn’t call it that back then,” he said. Central Texas was scouted for such a small town so that “Abel’s Field” Producer Tore Knos could capture that essence, but also be near the Austin filmmaking community, which has abundant resources for both large scale films and independent productions.
It was actually director Gordie Haakstad who found the town of Thrall on Google Earth. It took just one visit and the production team knew they had found their small town where “football is king.” Once a booming oil town of 5,000, Thrall’s current population is less than 800. The town welcomed the production team and let them use high school for location shots, a church youth building for production offices and the people of Thrall as extras.
The cinematography is beautiful and the movie is reminiscent of “Tender Mercies,” with similar spare dialogue in places. Abel’s interaction with Seth is key to the plot of the movie, and Abel is played with serious efficacy by Kevin. He’s got a past, a secret, and is a man of few words. He writes in a leather book but we never find out what he’s writing about. The main message is people we are all flawed and make mistakes, but we are also all capable of redemption and achieving forgiveness. God can forgive us even when we can’t forgive ourselves.
Kevin Sorbo is a man who prefers to speak his mind, and minces no words in his disdain for the Hollywood establishment. He feels there is a better way to make movies with messages that matter through independent filmmaking – better films to be made with real messages of faith, hope and redemption. He is a man who puts his faith into action. He has consciously made that choice, and continues to make it on a daily basis.
Abel’s Field was written by Aron Flasher, produced by Tore Knos, directed by Gordie Haakstad, and was filmed in August 2011 in Thrall, Texas.