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Local filmmaker releases first motion picture

  • Written by Tri-State Defender Newsroom

For local filmmaker Anwar Jamison, this was a big week made special by the release of his first motion picture. by Brittany McManus
Special to the Tri-State Defender

For local filmmaker Anwar Jamison, this was a big week made special by the release of his first motion picture. The film, entitled “Funeral Arrangements,” is a comedy focusing on a character named Drew, who lies about attending a funeral in order to skip work.

 Anwar Jamison (right) wrote and directed ‘Funeral Arrangements’ and the stars include Mr. Deejae. (Photos courtesy of Anwar Jamison)

“(Drew) says he has to go to a funeral, gets his bluff called, and ends up at a funeral in a hilarious case of mistaken identity. There are some funny things that happen along the way in getting out of that situation,” says Jamison.

Jamison, 33, not only directed the film, but also wrote the film’s script. Jamison’s passion for writing is where his interest in film began.

“Writing has always been my first love and something that I realized early on that I could do really well. The love for writing is what eventually led me to music and ultimately to film,” says Jamison.

Jamison studied English Writing at the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater and then went on to receive his Master of Arts in English from the University of Memphis. Afterward, he decided to pursue an additional Master of Arts in Film and Video Production from the University of Memphis.

The early development of the script for “Funeral Arrangements” came from an assignment in his first screenwriting class. He constructed a 15-page script that was based on a time when he himself had tried to skip work.

“My professor called me early the next morning and told me that she wanted to use my script as the example to read in class the next day. When I saw how impressed she was by the story, I figured I might be onto something. This was nearly ten years before we ended up shooting it,” says Jamison.

The cast and crew were primarily made up of both film students and theater students. Jamison believes the make-up of the crew fueled the passion behind the project.

“Everyone was hungry because we wanted to use everything that we had learned to make the best movie possible,” says Jamison. “We had the time of our lives. We really had fun.”

The film stars rhythm and blues artist Mr. Deejae and theater professor Reginald Brown. Other cast members include local theater students and actors such as Darius Frye, Hosanna Copeland, and David Caffey.

Jamison will begin shooting his next project, “5 Steps to a Conversation,” in March. The film is a drama and will be slightly darker than “Funeral Arrangements.”

“The most significant thing I have learned from this experience is the true impact that a director has on a movie and how satisfying it can be to tell a story, have people laugh, and have them take a ninety-minute journey with your imagination,” says Jamison.

“Funeral Arrangements” – released nationwide through Select-O-Hits on Tuesday (Feb. 15) – is available in stores and online.


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