“Write what disturbs you, what you fear, what you have not been willing to speak about. Be willing to be split open.”
Natalie Goldberg, author – Writing Down The Bones
Lights! Camera! Action!
Hollywood was looking for me. (Sorta kinda maybe)
A group of prison inmates were learning to write screenplays.
The fire behind this project was a lady named Chinonye Chukwu and her classroom was The Dayton Correctional Institution.
A casting call went out for five films that were to be produced. One film called for someone to act in a short scene as a homeless man. Age 65, sporting long gray hair and a beard, I won the role. The next part of my Tinseltown adventure was to meet the ladies who were bringing their stories to the screen.
Five students spent eight weeks learning the craft of screenwriting. They were teamed up with media students, technicians, actors, and other professionals from Ohio and neighboring states. Because of their confinement, they were only able to share their ideas and give direction from inside the prison walls. When the scripts were ready, shooting the films began in different locations around the state with a proxy director.
The subject matter for the films are rooted in the personal stories of the inmates. The film showcasing my acting skills is called FOR THEY KNOW NOT. It is about a young woman battling heroin addiction. She seeks help but bumps up against a bureaucratic wall. She lives under a bridge and that’s where she encounters a homeless man who offers to share a meal with her.
The other films:
With no employment and two starving children, a mom is pushed to her breaking point
LOVE OR LOYALTY
On her last day in prison, a woman’s bond with her cellmate is put to the ultimate test
THE DEVASTATING GAME
After years of repeated abuse by her brother, a sister makes the most difficult decision of her life
TRANS – PARENT
A young girl’s search for her mother leads to life altering consequences.
I’ve been to a truckload of church services. But I have never heard testimonials more powerful than those from the women in the screenwriting class. Yes, they had made mistakes. And like me, they have learned to believe in a God of second chances.
The writing program is called PENS TO PICTURES.
Their mission: Create a platform for the voices of incarcerated women and to champion prison reform.
Along the way the women writing these screenplays are learning new skills and local artists are given an opportunity to hone their craft.
And you’re invited to be part of this important work. Please visit their website www.penstopictures.org and see how your gifts and talents can help this important project.
“It would be great if people see the humanity in us and know that everyone has a story.”
Jamie, an inmate and writer/director of TRANSPARENT
“It doesn’t matter where you come from,
All that matters is where you’re going.”
Brian Tracy, author
Visit me at www.buddybloomwildflower.com