Michigan’s filmmaking industry is establishing itself as a powerhouse in indie film. And at center of this filmmaking activity is the city of Detroit. So much is being produced in the Motor City that we may see a new film capital emerge in the United States.
To Detroit’s credit, it is home to many talented people both in front of and behind the camera. Some of these people are experienced and can display a proficiency that is evident in the quality of films being produced. Others, some after studying at some of Michigan’s finest schools, surrounded with other talented individuals sharing a talent for film, are stepping up and literally knocking first time efforts out of the park.
A movie that demonstrates this is entitled “Urban Envy.” Produced originally in 2014 and released to a limited audience at its Red Carpet premiere in 2016, “Urban Envy” can be called nothing less than a masterpiece of contemporary urban storytelling. It is as tight as anything produced here in the D.
Co-written by Coke Horner, who studied at the University of Detroit Mercy and Desmond Weems, a 2001 graduate and member of the Alumni of Cass Technical High School, this screenplay and the resulting movie reflects life in urban Detroit. “Urban Envy” was directed by Desmond Weems and is a Educo Entertainment Group LLC production.
After Marcus Drapier, played by Charl Washington wins the annual dance competition and earns the coveted title of Mr. Ballroom he unknowingly invokes the murderous wrath of the most dangerous gangster in town, Lenny Jefferson (played by Coke Horner). All hell breaks loose when painful family secrets are revealed. Through a series of twist and turns, this dramatic tale leads to heartbreaking revelations, vengeful plots and cold blooded murder.
“Urban Envy” also stars Ali Amine as Tom, Marnie Brag as Lisa, Deborah Chenault-Green as Deborah Williams, DeSean Whipple as Brian, and Earnest Lee as Slick, among others. The actors all delivered commendable performances Charl Washington who provided the cinematography the editing for this production, produced a pacing for this movie that kept me glued to the screen.
The music is provided by Kevin Killem, Q Harper, Malya, Big Drew and Skip, set the tone throughout this film.
“Urban Envy” concludes with a tease that will have you wanting for more. And there will be more as Coke Horner is writing a sequel that should satisfy that desire and more.
David W. King, Michigan Movie Weekender