The cast of locally-filmed movie “Chasing Titles: Volume 1” answers questions after the premiere screening in West Palm Beach.
By ISHEKA N. HARRISON and BREION MOSES
WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. – Recently, over 150 people turned out to enjoy the gala premiere screening of “Chasing Titles: Volume 1,” an award-winning short movie that was filmed in parts of Riviera Beach, Singer Island, West Palm Beach and Palm Beach Gardens.
Members of the star-studded cast and crew took pictures and engaged with fans on the red carpet during a pre-screening mixer.
They included: writer, director and producer Ryan Egypt, Brian Austin Green, Clifton Powell, Barry Shabaka Henley, Haas Manning, Erica Eynon, Terrance Richardson and young newcomer Landon Gimenez.
The film is about a father (played by Green) who adores his son (played by Gimenez) but has challenges making ends meet, so he takes some desperate measures. Green said the reality of the script convinced him to take the role.
“I think Ryan wrote something that is very believable in society today. People try and do the right thing and sometimes they do and sometimes don’t,” Green said. “For those that don’t, we vilify them, but they just made the wrong choice and that’s what this is.”
Egypt said the film’s success makes him humbled and proud.
“I just wanted to make a really great film. Anything on top of that is just truly awesome,” Egypt said.
Though Egypt works in Hollywood, California now, he said he wanted to shoot the movie in South Florida where he attended middle and high school in Palm Beach County.
“I envisioned a South Florida vibe to it and I wanted to keep that authentic. Even though it’s more difficult to shoot here, we got it done,” Egypt said. “I really could have shot this anywhere, like Atlanta and gotten tax incentives, but I wanted to do it here.”
Egypt said his goal with the movie is to challenge stereotypes and send a clear message about the consequences of bad decisions.
“I challenge a lot of things in this movie. I challenge racism, I challenge what a young man is supposed to do; I challenge what you may portray a drug dealer to be,” Egypt said. “At the end of the day it’s every decision that you make and every action has a consequence and hopefully people will think twice before making a bad decision.”
Terrance Richardson – who plays Chris Jones, Marcus’ (Haas Manning) best friend in the film – said Egypt’s challenge of portrayals is a part of the reason he took the role.
“What I liked about it is, it was kind of like not your normal thug. He wasn’t rough. He didn’t have the guns and shoot them up. He didn’t have a certain look. He actually carried himself as a man about business,” Richardson said.
He added the filming location sold him because he is originally from Chicago.
“It was shot in Florida; why would I want to turn that down? That was a great opportunity. … They said it shoots in Florida and I said I’m down,” Richardson said.
Henley plays Luke Parker, Joe Holmes’ boss in the film. He said he took the role because he was assured the project would be completed.
“I get a lot of scripts from people and they never get done and this one was a go when I got it. (Ryan is a) first time filmmaker and a person with a lot of passion so I thought it was a good combination. I didn’t have any reservations and I have no regrets,” Henley said.
Egypt and the cast joined the audience for an interactive Q&A following the screening. He credited his cast and crew for making the film a success.
“I wouldn’t have been able to get this done, first of all, without God, but also just having an amazing cast and crew,” Egypt said.
He said his inspiration for the film came from seeing people chase the wrong things in life.
“I see people chasing titles rather than chasing what’s important in life and that’s how I imagined this story and created all these characters,” Egypt said.
“Chasing Titles” is Egypt’s debut film from his newly launched independent film label OPREME Films. According to the film’s website, it is slated for release in Fall of this year (2017), with a full feature “Chasing Titles: Volume 2” to follow.
To learn more about “Chasing Titles: Volume 1” and stay tuned to updates, visit www.chasingtitles.com or follow the movie on instagram @chasingtitlesmovie.