“The Bluff” Brings Hollywood to the Hood

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Memories of violent killings brings acting opportunities to Atlanta indigenes.

After years of crime, poverty, violence and drugs in a northwest area of Atlanta, two positives things may come out of it.

Firstly, Simpson Road and the connecting Simpson Street in northwest Atlanta could become Coretta Scott King Drive. In addition to honoring King, proponents of the name change hope it will help give the struggling area a new identity. The streets pass through an area also known as the Bluff, which has been plagued by crime, drugs and a lack of economic opportunity, including the Vine City neighborhood, where the Kings began raising their four children.

Secondly a hand full of talented Atlanta indigenes with no prior acting exposure have been transformed to local movie stars and production crew workers by Atlanta Filmworks Inc, an independent movie production company working to develop Atlanta’s own movie industry aka LANTAWOOD.

“The Bluff,” is the first in a series of DVD movies with Atlanta themes to be released monthly by Atlanta Filmworks. Starring Rapper Killa Rich, real name – Terrence Wilkerson, Rock Rogers Jr., with co-stars Charrise Price, Anthony Grace and Rapper Lady K, real name – Karvis Edwards. Their acting debut rightfully is in a movie based on life in a part of town they can all relate with.

According to Namso Akpan, Director of Productions for Atlanta Filmworks Inc., ”The vision that has brought us to this foundation stage of a functional and viable movie industry began around 2002.”

Namso said, “Riding through Simpson Road one day, I came to the corner of Sunset Avenue and Neil Street. There was a crowd of mainly teenagers. They called the girl Elizabeth and as she laid there covered in blood, I could tell that she probably had lived a rough life. The gossip around was that she was shot by her boyfriend. He shot her 3 times, but no one knew his real name. They called him Black,” Namso recalls.

This stretch, according to city history, is currently named for Leonard Christopher Simpson, who lived from 1821 to 1860, and was the first attorney to live and practice law in Atlanta. It is ironic that this part of town could turn out to be an area with such a high crime record.

According to Namso, as he became interested the area, he found that a lot of the people did not want to take up employment, even when it was available.

For most of them crime pays very well, often producing an income of many hundreds of dollars a week. Many were unemployed by personal choice, preferring a life of dishonesty and other forms of anti-social behaviour. But also ironically, this is the same area that produced rappers like Dem Franchize Boyz. “It did not surprise me how artistic and creative these people were. Upon the crime, drugs and violence, they still made time to write and produce songs and raps. What if that energy was harvested and channeled into something positive and also commercial, like making movies?”

In 2004, Namso setup Atlanta Filmworks Inc. to give indigenes a grass root opportunity to develop a local movie industry in Atlanta. “Our mission is to harvest talents around Atlanta, partner with them to produce quality DVD entertainment, highlighting the culture and people of Atlanta.” Namso said, “We are totally independent, from the creative and production stages to the distribution of our products.”

After months of auditioning, casting, filming and editing, Atlanta Filmworks Inc. will release the movie “The Bluff” on DVD between May and June 2006.

If you would like more information on this movie or to schedule an interview with Namso Akpan please call 678 754 5438 or email Namso.

For more information on the movie, visit http://www.thebluff.atlantafilmworks.com

For more information on Atlanta’s emerging movie industry AKA Lantawood visit http://www.atlantafilmworks.com/Lantawoodnews.html


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Namso Akpan