As an author, I know the power of the written word. But I have to say, there is something undeniably powerful about hearing someone tell their story with their own voice and in their own words…seeing a heart-felt tear roll down their cheek or the smile that’s in their eyes as they recount a special moment. It’s utterly captivating. True Productions is a production company I founded that looks for these stories and finds ways to tell them through the camera lens.
In the last few years, we’ve been involved with a number of such impactful stories. Here are three that I’d like to share with you today.
- Full Court: The Spencer Haywood Story –I had the opportunity to Executive Produce this great story and it’s now available on Amazon Prime.
- Thin Skin: A True Story about Keeping It Together – This film just had its world premiere (virtually) on August 11, 2020, at the Bentonville Film Festival.
- CBD Nation – This is a timely film that I’m very excited about. It debuts on August 25, 2020.
Here’s a brief background on each one.
Full Court: The Spencer Haywood Story
Spencer Haywood went from picking cotton in rural Mississippi to being inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame. Along the way, he won Olympic gold, married one of the most famous supermodels in the world, and dominated professional basketball.
But he had to fight every step of the way—for his civil rights, against addiction, and even against the NBA itself.
In 1970, young Haywood challenged the NBA’s “four-year rule,” which stated that players could not enter the league until they were four years removed from high school. Because of this, young, poor players were excluded from the business of basketball. Haywood’s case went all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court, and his victory forever changed professional basketball. But Haywood paid a price for making waves. The case overshadowed his stand-out stints with the Sonics, Knicks, and Lakers, and Haywood was ostracized for many years.
Full Court seamlessly parallels Haywood’s personal and professional struggles with the civil-rights struggles of the time. His untold, human-interest story will come to life through rare archival video, photography, and music. Interviews with Haywood’s peers and talented, young players—for whom he paved the way—will bring this compelling documentary full circle. The story culminates with Haywood’s long overdue enshrinement into the Basketball Hall of Fame.
Released in 2016, you can find FULL COURT exclusively on Amazon.
Thin Skin: A True Story about Keeping It Together
Ahamefule Joe Oluo’s days are spent at a soul-deadening corporate job, and his nights come alive behind a trumpet at Seattle jazz clubs.
As he struggles to climb out of the ruins of his broken marriage, Aham has to deal with endless bureaucracy, a boss trying to lead him to the Lord, and a mother who refuses to cut ties with his ex.
After losing his home, Aham is living with his entire family once again. Aham’s older sister, Ijeoma, has reluctantly opened up her one-bedroom apartment to Aham and his two young daughters, along with their mother, a well-meaning white lady from Kansas, and her array of caged animals. The one person missing from this living situation is Aham and Ijeoma’s estranged Nigerian father. He left the family when the children were young and headed back to his village to start over again. He is the ghost in this cramped family living situation.
One day, the ghost makes contact after years of silence. This sends the family into a mad scramble for meaning. Pressed together in this vise of a home, the family struggles with adult life and the meaning of family.
Thin Skin, a music-infused drama about keeping it together when you’re falling apart, is based on the award-winning autobiographical Off-Broadway show, “Now I’m Fine” and the This American Life story, “The Wedding Crasher.” It recently premiered (virtually) at the 2020 Bentonville Film Festival.
Featuring the world’s leading experts in cannabis science and medicine—including acclaimed Israeli scientist Raphael Mechoulam, Ph.D., the “father of cannabis research” whose 1960s discovery of THC jump-started the medical and scientific revolution around cannabis—CBD Nation offers a compelling look at 60 years’ worth of published and ongoing research.
CBD Nation marries a wealth of scientific breakthroughs with first-person narratives. You’ll be pulled-in, as you hear the emotional stories of patients for whom CBD is a life-saving medicine, including 14-year-old Rylie Maedler, six-year-old Jayden David, and U.S. Army Veteran Colin Wells.
“CBD Nation tells the authentic origin story of CBD…how it took sick kids like Jayden David, Rylie Maedler, and the late Charlotte Figi becoming messengers for this plant in order for mainstream society to acknowledge its potential as medicine,” shares cannabis industry consultant and strategic advisor, Andrew DeAngelo. “It is a story about human biology, human rights, and the ultimate victory of truth and science, which could not be more relevant today.”
This ground-breaking film releases on August 25, 2020, and is available via Amazon, iTunes, and other video-on-demand channels.
I’m grateful for the opportunity to share in the mission to create experiences that bring people together to discover exceptional films from around the world. We live in a world with amazing people who have extraordinary stories to tell. I’m honored to help be their storyteller.
Until next time, Live Well, Live Long!