Live aware. Live present. Live free.






For Immediate Release               March 10, 2014


Ascent from Darkness by Michael Leehan Optioned for Movie

A Chilling Look Into The Life of a Former Satan Worshiper

 (Nashville, Tenn.) – Ascent from Darkness has been optioned for a movie adaptation by Aqueduct Pictures. A Florida-based production company created by Executive Producer Bill McConnell and partner Terri Grippo, Aqueduct Picture’s mission statement is to create entertainment that spotlights the human condition in hopes to empower change. We desire to elevate the awareness of basic moral truths that we believe are "written on the human heart" and shed light on the dark.

In 1987, Michael Leehan was a down-and-out divorced father of three. With a lonely childhood, a life of disappointment, and horrible communication and relationship skills, he experienced growing rage. His emotions stirred to the point of eruption, and a day of reckoning approached when he gave his life to Satan.

“My sad rationale had been twisted into this thought: If God created everything, then He created evil,” says Leehan. “So, by that line of reasoning, I decided that God was responsible for evil, controlled it, and was in fact both good and evil. He had to be responsible for the tragedy in my life. And if He was responsible for all the suffering in my life, how could He possibly care about me? Since God didn’t care for me, I might as well serve His enemy.”

Over the next 20 years, Michael committed his life to Satan – offering blood sacrifices, preying on lonely women in his neighborhood and church groups, spending time in jail, and plotting murders.

However, even while Leehan was taking part in these dastardly deeds, God continued to reveal himself through chance encounters with believers and well-meaning community evangelists. While he first used these opportunities to exploit the church, doubt was beginning to develop.

While alone on a hill at a men’s retreat, he plans to sacrifice himself the next day. But as he is writing letters to his family, he unknowingly begins to write one to God. “If You are real help me now. I’ve lied and I have killed. I have lied and I have cheated. I have hurt everyone in my life, including You, if You are there. Hey You, Satan took me in, why didn’t You? This is it and You know it, God. Where are you? I need you and not tomorrow.”

This act begins the final transformation of Leehan’s life out of Satanism. Testimonies of people who knew Leehan before, during, and after his dark time are included with a third person perspective of the changes in his life.

Aqueduct is pleased to have acquired award winning Cinematographer Craig Haagensen as the director for this project.  Haagensen has been Cinematographer for several features; being awarded the coveted Best Cinematography at the Boston International Film Festival for the feature Crazy.  He has operated such iconic films such as Fatal Attraction, American Gangster, Black Rain, The Corruptor, Birth, Across the Universe, Jacob’s Ladder, Glengarry Glenn Ross, The Fisher King and The Twelve Monkeys.

Michael Leehan is an evangelist and minister, but he’s also finally a free man. Once enslaved to the dark forces of this world he now lives each day in devotion and service to God though Solus Christus Ministries, a nonprofit organization that offers hope and redemption through the power of God’s love, truth, and knowledge of this Word.

Bill McConnell has been involved in the motion picture and entertainment profession for over a quarter of a century. Steel Magnolias, A Time to Kill, Cape Fear and the Truman Show are a sampling of films he has worked on.  While most of his experience has been behind the camera, Bill has taken those years of observation to step out and produce a few projects on his own. Bill is a native Floridian where he lives with his wife of 47 years, 3 grown children and 9 beautiful grandchildren.  

Terri Grippo has been working along side Bill just shy of 10 years exploring and developing family friendly venues of entertainment. Relying on her business experience of 20 years to delve into the world of filmmaking, Terri helps to manage the creative and business components of Aqueduct Entertainment.