The Samuel Project

DVD Release: September 28, 2018
The Samuel Project


In search of a unique and engaging idea for his high school animation contest, teen illustrator Eli Bergman unravels an incredible hidden story of perseverance and survival from his aging grandfather Samuel.

Dove Review

Eli Bergman is tasked with creating an original project for his high school animation class. If his project is selected, he is guaranteed a local competition slot and the chance for an internship, or even a scholarship, to pursue his dream of making art. For a talented guy like Eli, this sounds like a piece of cake, but his dad, Robert, doesn’t see art as a practical way to pay the bills. Meanwhile, Eli is paired with a wayward student, Kasim, who isn’t so willing to pitch in.

Without any thematic direction from his teacher, Eli must find some sort of inspiration for this project–the kind of inspiration that could win a scholarship. Unbeknownst to Eli, this inspiration sparks after a potentially boring visit with his grandfather, Samuel.

Samuel, a Jewish immigrant, owns a reputable dry cleaning business, but outside of that, Eli knows little about him. The two have rarely hung out, and when they have, it has been nothing more than awkward silence. Finally, things shake up when Samuel asks Eli to drive him to see his friend, Uma. Uma is very sick, and after she passes, Samuel is angry and distraught.

After lots of poking and prodding, Eli learns that Uma had rescued Samuel from the Germans during World War II, after he was orphaned and surviving in the woods. Instantly, Samuel’s story becomes Eli’s project: The Samuel Project.

Kasim eventually decides to lend his musical talents to Eli’s project and their animation production makes it to the local competition. Did they win? You have to watch The Samuel Project to find out!

Positive elements include when Robert realizes that he shouldn’t force his son into a career path that just pays the bills–not at the cost of quality of life, which reminds us all that God did not put us on this earth to work ourselves to death. Rather, we were put here to use our gifts and talents to worship Him. Meanwhile, viewers see Samuel and Eli’s relationship grow.

Despite these valuable elements, consistent cussing and crude humor, mixed with Kasim’s stealing and scheming, aren’t suitable for most audiences, making this film Not Dove-approved.

The Dove Take:

The Samuel Project encourages viewers to tighten family bonds, but cuss words and crude humor aren’t suitable for most audiences.

Content Description

Faith: Samuel says that Uma was "a gift from God"
Integrity: Grandfather/grandson and father/son relationships mend and grow, Eli's father stresses that life shouldn't be all about work and being a slave to paying bills.
Sex: A teenage girl and boy make out in the back of an auditorium.
Language: Consistent jokes made regarding male genitals, S***-7, D***-2, H***-2, A**-2, Bad A**, "oh my g**"
Violence: Cartoon reenactment of Samuel's traumatic experience when the Germans killed his father and took his family.
Drugs: Several characters, including teenagers, smoke cigarettes; reference to a "crack baby"
Nudity: None
Other: Kasim wears Guns & Roses shirts with black and red crosses. Kasim steals a speaker.


Company: 9 Story Media Group
Director: Marc Fusco
Genre: Family
Runtime: 90 min.
Industry Rating: PG
Reviewer: Peyton G.