Praise The Maker

Two men take different approaches to their hardscrabble neighborhood until life's vagaries intervene.

Genre: Animation

Length: 11:50

Pay Per View

3 out of 5 stars

Producer/s : Thomas E. Stokes III, QuentonStokes-Brown

Director/s : Ashante P.T. Stokes, 

Writer/s : Ashante P.T. Stokes, 

Actor/s : Ashante P.T. Stokes, James Arthur Williams


Urban hymns

Ashante PT Stokes is an American “rhythm and gospel” artist, director, writer, producer and performer. He’s led this fun animation that builds around his song Praise The Maker. It doesn’t tell much of a story, but it has heart. Just getting the local corner merchants and druggies singing and dancing is cause for celebration, right?

The animation is straight out of an app, but it’s a good app, and the faces are expressive and the dance moves smooth, so a nod to animator Mark E Drum here.

Short Film Reviews has received overtly Christian films so poor that we were asked to take down the review (we complied). Ashante Stokes shows that religiously-motivated films don’t have to be so grimly earnest or preachy, and can be celebratory. Even his low-lifes have hearts and lungs and friendships, and that’s their strength, and sometimes their weakness.

Because there’s a little twist at the end, a little moral perhaps, implying that God – or blind chance – shapes our fate, no matter what we pretend. If there’s a message, it’s something like “play it safe and keep in with the Big Man, you never know when you might need him”.

It leads into a second track playing out over the credits and bonus scenes. Worth waiting for if, like me, you prefer your gospel less happy rappy and more holy souly. But both numbers are accessible and have instant hooks.

I learned recently that the word “religion” is based on the Latin re-ligare, meaning “reconnect” or “bind together” (as in ligature). Stokes presumably sees his job as not to judge (that’s for the Big Man), but to bring people together. Music and dance gonna do that job better than sermons and shame.

No screener available