The nominees for the inaugural Detroit Filmmakers Awards program have been announced. Among the nominations are the 2019 Best Actors in a Feature Film.
These include James “#jamesdee” Dee for his role in “Stay,” Leonydus “@leonydusjohnson” Johnson for his role as Donavan in “Sincerely, Brenda,”Chazmar ” @chazz_the_actor” Hall in Halt: The Motion Picture, Rico Bruce Wade for his role as Charles in “Sincerely Brenda” ,
Writen by Katelin Maylum, directed by Marcus White II “Stay” stars: Cristen Adams, Hameeda Al-Halemi, Jessica Booker.
“Stay” is about Brad and Ben who were dating in high school but the romance eventually fizzed out. Brad goes on to live the heterosexual life and raises a son Chris with his wife Avery and Ben stays true to himself. Everything starts to go south when Ben comes back to town and Brad must decide whether he is going to be with Ben or if he is going to stay with Avery.
“Stay” can be viewed in its entirety on Amazon Prime Video.
Matthew Leonydus Johnson was born and raised in Ironton, Ohio, the son of Aaron and Bridget Johnson. Growing up, he was more into sports than he was the arts, playing baseball from little league through high school and even up to the college level at the University of Rio Grande. He later pursued a career in music as a hip-hop artist under the moniker of “Gyfted”, releasing an album in 2005 entitled “Best Kept Secret” to generally positive reviews. Although he loved writing and telling stories and even at the age of 13, he wrote and directed a few silly films with a toy video camera, he did not pursue any kind of theatre or film until much later. His love for acting was late blooming, occurring in 2008 at the age of 24, when he was invited to write a hip-hop musical version of ‘Cinderella’ for the Columbus Children’s Theatre in Columbus, OH in 2009, which sold out its entire 13 show run.
He would go on to write a hip-hop version of the Ugly Duckling for the Columbus Children’s Theatre the following year in 2010. He also was hired as a theatre director for Alexander High School in Albany, Ohio the same year. He decided to start his own theatre company with a friend called Scene One Theatre (which would eventually become Misfits Theatre) in Athens, OH, where he directed many musical productions. In 2014, he decided to move from behind the scenes and begin acting, working with multiple theatre companies in the region, playing roles such as Jacob Marley in ‘A Christmas Carol’, Donkey in ‘Shrek’, Lumiere in ‘Beauty and the Beast’, Richard Henry Lee in ‘1776’, Neleus in ‘Mary Poppins’, and ‘Sam Craig’ in Our Town. In 2016, he began working in film/television, working on student films at Ohio University and Point Park University, several indie feature films and short films, and eventually began making trips to New York in 2017 to work on Investigation Discovery shows including ‘Shattered’, “The Perfect Murder’, ‘Evil Lives Here’, and “Diabolical’.
When he’s not acting or directing, Leonydus likes to write, play piano, play video games, and spend time with his wife and children
About “Sincerely, Brenda”
After a sudden tragedy, a recovering alcoholic attempts to reconcile with his two estranged sons over a weekend, but the encounter reveals secrets that could destroy their family forever.
About Halt: the Motion Picture
Written and Directed by Jezar Riches, Halt: the Motion Picture stars: Harley Wallen, Andrew Dawe-Collins, Chazmar Hall. A black couple is pulled over by police when a simple traffic stop becomes a nightmare they will never forget.
“Halt: The Motion Picture” is available on Amazon Prime
The Detroit Filmmakers Awards are May 5th.