The Gardener

Created by Laura Evers Johns, The Pitch 2013

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By the year 2537, Earth's precious resources and protective atmosphere have been catastrophically and irreversibly depleted. Now, the survivors drift through space in overcrowded colonies, aboard outdated spacecraft. As one of the 'Gardeners', Red must trial what is left of Earth's precious flora on an alien planet, trying to generate enough oxygen and food to support colonisation. But Red's garden is failing. And increasingly, he is haunted by a reoccurring dream: of a black tree bearing a golden fruit, growing on the planet's arid plains... When Red's superiors threaten to abort his mission, he wins more time by agreeing to work alongside another Gardener – a genetically engineered human, Eva. She quickly impresses Red with her appetite for knowledge. But before long, Eva is haunted by the same dream. Without Red's knowledge, she locates the tree and returns with its glowing fruit. Acting against protocol, Red splices the fruit's DNA with Earth's precious species. Quickly, his garden transforms. And, as Red and Eva eat from the garden, they too are changed. In a final transmission from the colonies, Red and Eva are banished. Owing to their disobedience, they are now contaminated with alien DNA – and they can never return...

Biblical Connection

'The Gardener' is a sci-fi re-imagining of Chapters 2 & 3 in the Book of Genesis, set in a dark future. Inspired by the story of Adam and Eve and the expulsion from Paradise, The Gardener builds on the Bible's original story beats and motifs, exploring a new vision for the Garden of Paradise, the duality of good and evil, the Temptation, the Fall – and the wisdom gained through disobedience at severe cost. Protagonist Red is an Adam for modern times – a brilliant botanist who is fighting the line between his ethics and his work. Eva is his curious colleague and bold antagonist – the Eve character, who simultaneously arouses Red's suspicion and fascination, ultimately tempting him to make a terrible choice. The Tree of Knowledge is an alien lifeform that reaches out to the humans through a creeping dream, coiling around their pysche – like the Serpent in the original story. The fruit, with its beautiful golden glow, will heighten the human's awareness of everything that surrounds them – including each other. I believe it is a great time to tell this story, with a striking new aesthetic that promises to set this film apart.