Two budding filmmakers hope their seriously gritty documentary can make a difference.
Two young amateur North Philadelphia filmmakers, loaded with passion, a vision of change, a handheld camera and not a whole lot of money hope to help change the culture of violence in the city.
Barry "Slim" Evans, 23, and Brandon Angel, 28, say they made their feature-length film called Philadelphia Homicide City to open the eyes of the residents who live in our frightened communities and to encourage Philadelphia police to come up with real solutions.
Evans, a hip-hop producer, created the beat for underground MC Gillie da Kid's single "Get Down on da Ground." Just for fun, he picked up a camera and began recording the thoughts of the rappers he'd met, many of whom began to vent about the violent nature of their lives.
A little footage turned into a lot, and what began as a gritty homage to the city evolved into an edgy, straight-ahead look at crime and survival in our inner-city neighborhoods.
The film, shot documentary-style, runs 100 minutes, and uses footage from all over the city. "You can't tell a story about Philly from just one section of the city," says Evans. "You can really lose your life doing this type of movie because it's not safe in some places and nobody recognizes you."
Philadelphia Homicide City begins with a vignette of neighborhood scenes, then cuts to a clip of Katie Couric reporting former Attorney General Alberto Gonzalez's "plan" to reduce violent crime.
Then, like a baseball hat to the head, the subjects begin to speak their minds.
Young people live as though their neighborhood is the entire world.
Twenty-five-year-olds are considered "old heads."
There are few places for kids to chill after school or on weekends.
Parents are nowhere to be found.
A young man says he'd rather "catch a case than be a case" when asked whether he'd put his gun down when confronted with another gunman.
Our "village" has fallen apart.
Groups like "Mothers in Charge" are the butt of jokes.
One kid calls today's marijuana "rocket fuel."
Police brutality and apathy is rampant, poverty is overwhelming and drugs are everywhere.