The Global Search for Education: Capturing Artistic Resilience: Kevin Keck Discusses Lion or the Lamb

C. M. Rubin
4 min readOct 22, 2023

This month, audiences can screen Lion or the Lamb on the Planet Classroom Network. This film is curated for the Planet Classroom Network by Planet Classroom.

Dive into Lion or the Lamb from Director Kevin Keck, an inspiring film capturing the transformative journey of a creative artist during the pandemic.

Witness the power of resilience as lockdowns force reinvention, bringing the audience closer to the heart of the artistic process. A compelling tale of adaptation and inspiration.

The Global Search for Education is pleased to welcome Kevin Keck.

Kevin, can you share the inspiration behind Lion or the Lamb and what drew you to document a creative’s journey during the pandemic?

The pandemic was such a unique and universal experience in a lot of ways. It seemed to affect everyone in some way. But while that was true, I feel it affected us all in different ways. So, Lion or the Lamb allowed our team to take a step back and become a “fly on the wall” for Sam’s personal journey into something that none of us had gone through. I have always admired the beautiful resilience of Country Music, and to see a musician persevere through that is inspiring, even if you don’t relate to the genre or the art. I felt it an important moment to document in not only Country Music, but East Tennessee and Appalachian Art as well.

Your film explores the impact of lockdowns on artistic expression. How did you approach capturing the emotional and creative evolution of the subject?

Sam made that easy. She is such a down-to-earth personality that there was really no barrier put up to hide an emotional and creative evolution. At the same time, she maintained this idea of perseverance for her art which served to further highlight that evolution. She recognized early on that she had to adapt in order to push through, and that’s what interested us initially in doing a documentary. So our approach was to let Sam, and this moment in her life, lead and influence the piece. We honestly just wanted to stay out of the way and let her tell her own story. Then, we accompanied that with the visuals we thought would fit with that poetry.

The visual elements effectively convey the artist’s transformation. Can you discuss your choices in showcasing the artist’s style and performances?

Our cinematographer, Adam Chapman, was pretty confident early on that this piece needed to match Sam’s style. The locations we chose, the visuals we chose, were an attempt to match her style. And her performances are such a key part of Sam’s journey. I actually knew Sam when we were kids in Knoxville’s theater scene. So in a way, performance is what we bonded over the most. This story is about music, but more so, this story is about storytelling. And that required the performance. Whether digital (TikTok, Instagram) or the in-person show, we had to see her come full circle as a storyteller.

Lion or the Lamb is both introspective and relatable. What message or emotions do you hope the audience takes away from this portrayal of artistic resilience?

As someone who usually does scripted narrative work, documentary film was a bit of a learning curve for me. I couldn’t control the ending. If Sam had chosen to give up and not come back after the pandemic, that would have sent a different message than what I had attempted to capture. So beyond the obvious theme of resilience, I hope people can take away this: In a world where people are so often different from who they claim to be, there are people out there who are the real deal. These people follow through on their dreams, they fail and still find new ways to express themselves, and they are brave enough to remind us we are not alone. No matter the art form, we are not alone in that struggle.

Thank you Kevin!

C.M. Rubin with Kevin Keck

Don’t Miss Lion or the Lamb, now streaming on the Planet Classroom Network. This film is curated by Planet Classroom.