Cess Silvera's OVERTOWN (Canceled)
Cess Silvera's OVERTOWN (Canceled)
From the director of SHOTTAS, the gritty story of three friends who will do anything to survive Miami's historic ghetto - Overtown.
From the director of SHOTTAS, the gritty story of three friends who will do anything to survive Miami's historic ghetto - Overtown. Read more
The harder the conflict, the more glorious the triumph. - Thomas Paine
Overtown is the incredible true story of a single mother who was willing to do whatever it took to protect her family. Tammy faced the mounting pressure of raising two children alone, losing an uncle to drugs, and watching her sick mother deteriorate as she was denied medical care. Most people would have folded. Tammy did the unthinkable. She decided to go toe to toe with the local drug lord that had held her neighborhood hostage for years.
Originally called ‘Colored Town,’ Overtown was the first neighborhood designated for African Americans after the incorporation of Miami as a city in 1896. It quickly grew into a hub of African American culture and commerce, and was home to the South’s first black millionaire. Overtown’s inclusive entertainment scene attracted blacks and white audiences alike to see such artists as Ella Fitzgerald, Cab Calloway, Josephine Baker, Billie Holiday and Nat King Cole, who weren’t allowed to stay in the segregated Miami hotels where they performed. The neighborhood became a home away from home for significant African Americans like W.E.B. DuBois, Zora Neale Hurston, Joe Louis and Jackie Robinson. The growth of this thriving and vibrant community was halted, however, when highways and interstates were constructed to cut straight through Overtown. Businesses boarded up, families moved out, and jazz clubs closed their doors for good. Now considered a ghetto, Overtown may be one of the roughest neighborhoods in Miami, but the soul and character that first made Overtown a mecca for business and the arts still persists.
KELLY OVERTON @iamkellyoverton
As a struggling single mom and the film's moral center Tammy, Overton brings both sensitivity and the fierceness of a mama bear just trying to protect her cubs. Overton is a regular on True Blood, playing werewolf Rikki Naylor. She kicked ass in the movie adaptation of the fighting game Tekken. She has honed her chops on All My Children and in multiple Broadway shows, and has even found time to write, direct, and produce her own project.
CHAD JOHNSON @ochocinco
Love him or really love him, he’s an entertainer. This Miami native racked up over 11,000 receiving yards, 67 touchdowns, and 6 pro-bowl selections in the NFL but was better known for what he did after the whistle blew. Whether it’s using props to celebrate a TD, legally changing his name to Ochocinco, or Dancing with the Stars, he’s always captured attention. Now he takes on his first starring role as Overtown’s loose cannon ‘Dusty.’
He may look like just your average smoldering Latin heartthrob, but as an actor, Khotan Fernandez is no stranger to the world of drug lords and drivebys. He starred in 'Perro Amor' as a son who vows revenge on his father's killer and in 'El Cartel,' about the dangerous world of Mexican drug rings. Born in Mexico City, Khotan is quickly becoming one of Mexico's most popular actors, and not just because of his looks. Okay fine, he plays an underwear model on USA's 'Royal Pains.'
VINNIE JONES @VinnieJones
Vinnie Jones was suspended from pro soccer for 6 months for “bringing the game into disrepute”and then indefinitely banned after missing a disciplinary hearing. He gave soccer the middle finger and took his infamy to the screen. Some of his 75 acting credits include Lock Stock and Two Smoking Barrels, Snatch and played ‘Juggernaut’ in X-men: The Last Stand.
LEW TEMPLE @LewTempleActor
Walking Dead fans rejoice: Lew Temple is on board to play crazy Uncle Cliff, who has a good heart but not much self-control. This acting legend was also seen in Unstoppable with Denzel and The Texas Chainsaw Massacre.
CHRISTMAS ABBOTT @ChristmasAbbott
Christmas dedicated her life to fitness after an experience in Iraq as a civilian contractor, and hasn’t looked back. She is now one of the most recognizable members of the CrossFit community. As a member of CrossFit Headquarters Seminar Staff she has led her team to Mid-Atlantic Regionals three years running. As if being more fit than most every other person on the planet wasn’t enough, she took on challenge to become the first female member of a NASCAR pit crew. Mission accomplished. She will be changing tires during Daytona 500 this year. She's excited to try her hand at acting, and given this girl's dedication and commitment, we're sure she'll succeed.
Cess Silvera's OVERTOWN wouldn't be complete without a cameo from a Jamaican music legend, so we're lucky to say that Mavado, who has won best Reggae artist of the year and recorded his hit “Real McKoy” for the trailer of Grand Theft Auto IV, is on board to add some Jamaican flavor to Overtown.
As an actor, lyricist, and vocalist Bushwick Bill has done it all. His rap group Geto Boys was named 10th on the list of top 25 rap groups of all time. Bill now brings his talent and charm to Overtown and we’re thrilled to have him.
Sometimes the life of a movie can take its own unique twists and turns. Though this project started as a small independent feature, it has grown: big talent has come onboard, a full crew has made its way to Miami, and the explosive nature of some of the scenes has become more vivid. We couldn’t be more thrilled. However, this means the budget has grown as well. We need your help to make this movie everything it should be and more.
Also, through Kickstarter we have a unique opportunity to get this movie to you cheaper than we could through any other source. For our backers only we are offering a $5 digital download of the completed film, because making movies is expensive but seeing them shouldn’t be.
Between shooting his cult hit Shottas in 2002 and its long-overdue 2006 theatrical release, Cess added an “in memoriam” to the credits of the film for 50 of his friends. Only one of those friends died of natural causes.
Writer/director Cess Silvera writes what he knows. He grew up in Jamaica and Miami. He grew up around gangs. He grew up surrounded by violence.This upbringing gives Cess a unique perspective from any other filmmaker today. His intimate knowledge of a culture that is often misunderstood or completely overlooked is what fuels his passion to create. When asked about the level of violence in Shottas, Cess Silvera replied “I want people to see the love, to see it for more than just the violence… I wanted to show if this trend continues we are going to create monsters.” Rather than turn a blind eye, Cess chooses to highlight the very culture he hopes to inspire. It just so happens that when he highlights this culture he makes one hell of a movie.
Patrick Durham Jonathan Sachar are quickly becoming known as "the most prolific producers in Hollywood," as one studio executive put it. Especially passionate about helping filmmakers realize their creative visions, Jonathan and Patrick have focused primarily on independent projects. Together they have contributed to the successes of such features as Cross, Just Add Water, 7-10 Split, Rights of Passage, Tooth and Nails, The Killing Jar and most notably, Cabin Fever 2. Their ability to make movie magic out of limited funds is the reason that same exec said “No one can make movies at the price they do” and also makes them a perfect fit for the action-packed indie OVERTOWN.
It’s time to put Overtown back on the map. It’s ironic that this film, the story of three friends who resort to crime to support their families, is set against the backdrop of a neighborhood that was once one of the most prosperous African American communities in the country. That’s not the way it should be. This was a thriving community before a city official decided to run highways through its heart. Today, the median household income is just over $22,000 and the area is considered a ghetto. A successful, nationally-distributed film will bring awareness to Overtown, but even more immediately, a successful Kickstarter campaign will guarantee film production, and therefore jobs, to an area that desperately needs its own economic kickstart.
More photos to come!
Risks and challenges
Finding a distributor is always a challenge for an independent film, but we’re so confident in the quality of the film and the strength of the fan base that we expect to be widely distributed in theaters.
Sure, Chad Johnson has had a few lines here and there, but is he really qualified to star in a feature film? We think so. Cess has done a great job of creating a character for Chad that is a lot like him – fun, energetic, and a little wild. Chad and the other first-timers like Christmas and Mavado will be surrounded by other excellent actors who won’t let them get away with anything less than amazing. Not to mention, Cess has a record of harnessing stars’ talents – remember Kymani Marley and Spragga Benz in Shottas?
When you’re dealing with big stars, you’re dealing with busy schedules, so we have our work cut out for us getting everyone into our shoot days. Luckily we have some of the best producers in the business who are going to make sure everyone you see above will be in this film. In fact, they’re working to get some other big names signed on so check back for updates as we go.
-Independent movie risks:
Filmmaking by the big studios has one answer for everything that goes wrong: throw more money at it. We don’t have that luxury, but we don’t need it. One can make up for a tighter budget with passion and planning. We have both in spades. This will be an indie movie, but we’re confident you won’t be able to tell.
-Must be 18 and legally able to work in the US to be an extra or speaking role
-Must be 18 or accompanied by an adult to attend parties/premiere or set visit
-Most provide your own transportation and lodging for any and all events/set visits.
- (30 days)