Envisioning Home

ENVISIONING HOME:
THE JEAN KING AND RICHARD BARON STORY

This is an image“Envisioning Home” is a feature length documentary film exploring the personalities and accomplishments of two imaginative leaders, two agents of change in the world of public housing. Beginning with the 1968-69 tenant strike these two wildly different people came together in St. Louis and began to forge a vision for transforming the way we think about affordable public housing. By inspiring resident and family empowerment while creating more humane places to live, they showed how individuals can make a difference, invigorating individual lives and building vibrant neighborhoods and communities from distressed central cities. A remarkable, homegrown leader during the tenant strikes, Jean King met Richard Baron, a legal aide-turned-visionary planner and developer (co-founder/chairman, McCormack Baron Salazar). Together they helped change the face of inner city life in St. Louis and beyond. With production nearly completed, “Envisioning Home” should be ready for premieres and festival submission in September.

 

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The Phoenix

The Phoenix

THE PHOENIX is a dramatic feature film project that explores the remarkable true-life story of Harold Dennis–a young man who pulled himself away from a tragic, transforming moment and revived his life with moving courage and inspiring vigor.

We explore Harold’s dramatic journey toward wholeness and self-esteem after surviving a 1988 bus crash near Carrolton, KY, in which a drunk driver rammed into a bus full of kids killing 27 out of 67 on board (the worst drunk-driving accident in U.S. History)

Harold, a young teenager at the time, not only had to confront the loss of his lifelong friend (who perished sitting next to him on the bus) but also the powerful fears that he would never find a girl or return to his life as an athlete.

Despite his disfiguring scars and survivor guilt, Harold not only finds true love with a beautiful young woman, but a few years later he gets national headlines when he makes the University of Kentucky football team as a walk-on. As Coach Bill Curry said, “Harold Dennis has a brutal situation, but the brutal situation doesn’t have Harold.”

Harold won the Gene Autry and Arete Courage Awards, the latter presented by Evander Holyfield and Ahmad Rashad. His story was prominently featured on ESPN, CBS This Morning, People Magazine and Sports Illustrated.

At once a powerful coming-of-age sports drama and a moving love story, THE PHOENIX brings vividly to life the fascinating odyssey of how one young man’s near-death catastrophe turns into a courageous life-sustaining quest.

The Phoenix

Impact: After the Crash

IMPACT: AFTER THE CRASH

Whose life hasn’t in some way-through family or friends or a friend of a friend been touched by the calamity of drunk driving? Our film explores this problem not by waving an accusatory finger at those who drive drunk even though such a gesture might be deserved but instead by taking viewers inside one of the most catastrophic drunk driving episodes in American history; the tragic bus crash in Carrolton, Kentucky, in 1988. But more than that, we take viewers beyond the “impact” to a place of recovery and hope and inspiration.

Our mission with this film is not only to inspire others by providing an in-depth look into the lives of the families of this crash, but also to promote responsibility and proper decision making when it comes to the consumption of alcohol. Please consider supporting us in our mission.

FILM SYNOPSIS

The feature documentary, IMPACT: AFTER THE CRASH, explores the horrific Carrolton, Kentucky bus crash of May 14, 1988, which killed 27 people (mostly children) and injured nearly three dozen others, making it the worst drunk-driving related accident in U.S. history. The Kentucky tragedy became nationally known, not only because of the devastation it caused, but also because this incident gave prominence to the then-fledgling national anti-drunk driving organization, Mothers Against Drunk Driving.

Our documentary will take viewers back to that fateful night– including a dramatic and powerful recreation of the accident– and then explore how those who lost family and friends have over the years both suffered and recovered from their pain and losses. Bus crash survivor-turned-UK Football Star Harold Dennis provides the emotional center of our documentary, which will also reveal numerous other personal stories of loss and heroic rejuvenation, of fear and love, struggle and hope. The film will offer a stirring and compelling exploration of what it means to try to recover your life, when in an instant, everything is turned upside down.

As the minister who delivered the memorial message to survivors and relatives of those killed in the accident observed, the crash could become not simply a moment of destruction and loss, but a time of deliverance and new beginnings. For Harold Dennis, among several others, it did. Their courageous response to tragedy is an example to us all. IMPACT: AFTER THE CRASH delivers that powerful message by following the lives of several survivors and kin who suffered deeply from the incident but found the will to begin their lives anew.

Directed by Kentucky’s celebrated young filmmaker, Jason Epperson (ON THE LOT, UNREQUITED) and written and produced by Emmy-nominated writer and historian, Daniel Blake Smith (FEBRUARY ONE, KENTUCKY–AN AMERICAN STORY), IMPACT: AFTER THE CRASH tells a moving, universal story about the precariousness of life and the power of change.


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Blood Born

LOGLINE:
A failed writer’s life turns upside down when he learns his blood cures cancer.

SYNOPSIS:
A struggling writer, BRANDON MEEKS can barely piece together enough odd jobs to make ends meet. Even his barmaid girlfriend, JO LYNN, feels more secure than he does and is growing tired of Brandon’s stalled career. To make matters worse, Brandon has some druggies chasing him for unpaid debts—Brandon has been buying marijuana to help ease the chronic pain his sister JANE suffers from her cancer. So when Brandon literally stumbles into a blood bank, he seizes on the opportunity to make additional money by giving blood—repeatedly.

Little does he imagine that “there’s gold in those veins,” as his uncle physician, DR. FRANK MEEKS, tells him when news comes back from the blood bank that Brandon’s blood transfused into several dying cancer patients has completely cured them!

Once an eager and ambitious journalist, DANNY (the brother of Brandon’s girl friend, Jo Lynn) learns about Brandon’s “miracle blood” and writes an unauthorized front page newspaper story about it, Brandon becomes headline news everywhere. Which leads to fame and fortune thanks to the enterprising efforts of his uncle and a few associates eager to get rich.

But it also leads to danger: the pharmaceutical industry (which has major cancer drugs now in jeopardy if Brandon’s blood becomes the new hope in the world in the fight against cancer) harasses Brandon relentlessly in order to silence him and put an end to his curative blood. Meanwhile, his drug connections, excited now by Brandon’s newfound wealth and celebrity, begin chasing after him even more intensely, trying now to extract ever greater amounts of money from him over his unpaid debt.

Amid these conflicts, doubts start to creep in from a few places in the medical community about the complete validity of the initial research into Brandon’s blood. Which drives Brandon into his greatest test: with so many people, most especially his own sister Jane who got one of the first transfusions from Brandon’s blood, staking their lives on the HOPE that Brandon ‘gift’ is genuine and transforming, Brandon now must confront the real possibility that all the early excitement and fervor over his ‘miracle blood,’ may be a cruel hoax. In a stirring climax, Brandon must choose between hope and truth.


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