By: Kirsten McIlvenna, Vanguard Staff Writer
While some have spent their summer days at the beach, Danzell Calhoun has spent his writing a film.
The theatre and communication senior received a grant from SVSU’s Student Research and Creativity Institute to produce a film about African-American male identity and how the media effects their roles.
The film named “TORN” is about a young man named Meshach Johnson who is betrayed by the man he trusts like a father for his whole life. Throughout the movie, he connects with art and culture to grow and develop.
“It’s trying to address the issues as well as open people’s eyes to the issues that face young African American males,” Calhoun said.
He said it will show another side that isn’t just like the crime that is going on in the news. It will show how an environment can affect a young man’s growth.
“It’s not a film for the faint-hearted,” Calhoun said.
Calhoun was initially interested in the topic when he was auditioning for theatre shows.
“There are very few roles for young African-American males,” he said.
He then went on to compile a lot of research. He used this research to help write his screenplay.
Calhoun even got world-renowned artist Charles McGee to accept an appearance in his film. McGee’s “2 Centuries, 3 Decades, 28 Works” is the current exhibit at SVSU’s Marshall M. Fredericks Sculpture Museum.
Calhoun said he was able to do this by working with the people at the museum.
McGee, the National Samuel L. Jackson look-a-like winner, will have a role in the film and there are still several parts to be cast.
Calhoun will be working with Mid-Michigan movie Makers (4M), SVSU theatre department, Saginaw Community Outreach and several other businesses and property owners in Saginaw and in the Thumb.
Calhoun said he has had a lot of support from faculty, family and friends throughout the process. His film was originally supposed to take a different direction, but it fell through.
“My support system believed in me enough to let me keep going,” he said.
Now, his screenplay is almost finished. He said that he might add scenes to it because of different people that may want to be involved, but he is pretty happy with where it is at.
“It’s an extensive process,” he said.
With having a family, he said it is hard sometimes to have time to sit down and be creative, but that his wife and kid have been his backbone through the whole thing.
While he has never written a screenplay,, he has had practice with writing performance. He writes all of his own solo performances and almost everything he has performed for his classes.
After he graduates, he plans on continuing to do what he does now, writing and performing.
“I’m not trying to get famous,” he said, “I’m just trying to take care of my family.”
Calhoun would like to thank everyone who has supported him along the way and everyone who will continue to support him as he starts filming.
Auditions will be 2 p.m. to 4 p.m., Thursday, Sept. 8, at Operation Outreach, 119 S. Jefferson in Saginaw. There will also be auditions 4 p.m. to 6 p.m., Friday, Sept. 9 in Curtis 181. He said that compensation will be food and a great resume builder.