How many times have your heard the statement, "You're a character?" Justiin Davis can claim that statement as true. He's best known for his role on the award winning HBO Show, Boardwalk Empire as Lester White, son of Chalky White, played by another brilliant actor, Michael K. Williams. In fact, he is a character... Winon, cool skateboarding cat of the soon to be hit Sci-Fi animated film The Beach Chronicles.
On March 8, 2012, The Beach Chronicles hit the big screen for its debut at the Miami International Film Festival.
In the cast are big talents such as Daryl Hannah, Jesse Johnson (son of Don Johnson and Patti D'Arbanville), Arlene Tur, and the loveliest person I have met to date, Jo Marie Payton (Family Matters, and The Proud Family). The film also stars the love of my life, William Shatner, best known as Star Trek's Captain Kirk.
Besides being in sunny Miami, I don't think the day could have been more perfect. On the strip of South Beach, Collins Avenue and it's row of luxury and boutique hotels and motels, marks the beginning of Spring Break. What could be perfect timing for a filmmaker like Kevin Sharpley to release his SciFi film but on the famous Lincoln Road at the Regal Cinema Theater.
The Festival's organizers generously hosted a meet and greet for the filmmaker at the lovely Standard Hotel. There the artists gathered together overlooking what has to be the most breathtaking views -- the sun cascading its rays over the waters of Miami. The crowd, the ambiance, the appetizers and not to mention the drinks were only teasers of what the night held for us.
As the crowds shuffled to make it in time for the line-up of short films from artists traveling from all parts of the country, and world, 35 countries to be exact. We quickly found our seats, and as the music began, reminding me of the Twilight Zone theme, the audience applauded while the film's title took over the screen. With much anticipated excitement, I grabbed on to my seat, and action! Film noir at its finest. To my amazement, the characters are perfectly drawn. The movement of the characters, the sound effects, the story line, the realistic rendition of the Miami landmarks were all perfect. As I listened closely to the voices to identify each familiar character, I realized each voice resembled the character on the screen. Brilliant. The storyline is quite interesting and captivating. The message that one can walk away with is a conversation piece.
Jo Marie Payton again seems to reflect the voice of reason, as she does in all the roles she plays. And after meeting her personally, I got to see first hand why. It's her calm demeanor and positive spiritual outlook on life. Payton's humble disposition confirms why all her characters always want to help others to find peace, confidence, purpose and their soul's destiny.
Arlene Tur, this breathtaking, tall Cuban beauty most definitely brings sexy to the screen. In person, you are drawn to her and can't help but want to approach her. Her sultry character is reason enough to lead any character down the path of mystery. No wonder Dirk, played by Jesse Johnson lost his sense.
Jimmy Jean Louis's voice alone is so distinct, without having to see the face, you see the elegance in the character created for him.
Director Kevin Sharpley and co-creator Gianfranco Bianchi, did a great job selecting each character. And Miami really looks sexy animated. The culture, the art world, the fashion, the nightlife, the crowd, the crime, all the dirt that attracts one to the underworld of Miami is captured in The Beach Chronicles.
The night ended beautifully, with a reception at Haven Gastro-Lounge on the famous Lincoln Road. Members of the audience were invited to attend the after hours reception sponsored by Bombay Sapphire, to mingle with the cast and directors. As you entered into the lounge you were further reminded whose event you were attending, with the rotating images on the walls and screens. To add to the delight of the guests, Diablo Dimes tantalized ears by performing live. We were further graced by the presence of celebrity Chef Ron Duprat, who satisfied taste buds with a special menu, including featured drinks "The Dirk Jenson", "The Cherry Rhed Ding" and chocolate dessert that was to die for, "The Cherry Rhed Jubilee". The night was amazing.
These young talented men definitely make cartoons not just child's play. I foresee comic books, TV series, movies, action figures, T-shirts, and other memorabilia in its immediate future.
CORRECTION: A previous version of this post misidentified cast member Jesse Johnson's mother as Melanie Griffith.