Joseph, a mechanic, has a terminal illness that he has not disclosed to his family. He doesn't know how to approach the subject with his wife, he puts his life under the microscope to extreme proportions, boxes up emotions and distances himself from his son. Everything comes to boiling point when Jesus starts to understand and experiment with his abilities and reacts in a supernatural way to a fellow student who has antagonised him in an art class. He creates a dove out of clay and releases it without being seen; apart from the supply teacher. Joseph and his wife Mary are summoned to a meeting to discuss the incident - both flatly deny the accusations and against Marys wishes, Joseph questions the integrity of the teacher. Upon returning home an argument ensues, Jesus storms to his room whilst his parents continue the argument - Joseph questions his role as a parent and that his son is not actually his - in doing so he discloses his illness and breaks down. Meanwhile upstairs, in a fit of anger, Jesus has realised he is able to make objects float. The dove has also appeared at the window ledge.
Clay is a film that is based on Jesus’ youth - there only seems to be one story outside of birth, ministry and crucifixion which is Luke 2:31-52 - the Boy in the Temple. This verse acts as a source for when Jesus gets into trouble at school and the catalyst for the intervention that is staged between the school and the parents. However, I very much want to explore what has not been written - this is a film that examines the dynamic between Joseph and Jesus and how a father who has raised a surrogate son, who is under an extreme emotional burden due to a terminal illness comes to terms with his impending fate. The characters will have different names and set in a modern context - each will be dealing with real issues that are still apparent today. Mary, a stay at home mother getting her first job; Joseph, coming to terms with impending death and Jesus, learning self-control along with being a teenager. Finally, for the eagle-eyed theologians there is also a small nudge towards the New Testament Apocrypha Gospel of Thomas where Jesus makes a small bird out of clay in the art class.