Shot on Location

Two budding filmmakers hope their seriously gritty documentary can make a difference.

By Kellie C. Murphy
Add Comment Add Comment | Comments: 5 | Posted Sep. 17, 2008

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Short City streets: It took Brandon Angel (left) and Barry Evans just one year to make their film. (photo by michael persico)

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.


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Comments 1 - 5 of 5
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1. whatyoudidlastsummer said... on Sep 16, 2008 at 10:20PM

“Wow, what a total misrepresentation of this movie and it's story. Reporters are like fly's they stick to .... Used the wrong trailer too. you can see the movies trailer here: THIS IS A MUST SEE FILM. 5 STARS. I saw it.”

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2. Dyeisha said... on Sep 19, 2008 at 08:42AM

“This is my friend he makes an excellent point. If no one will help you you have no choice but to help yourself. the city is falling apart and maybe hopefully this film will pull a trigger in some ones head and they will realize that a drastic change is needed. I wish them both well and hope that the movie is a sucess.”

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3. S. I. said... on Sep 22, 2008 at 08:10PM

“I watched the actual trailer and while I understand that the producers intended for this "movie" to be "groundbreaking", to me it is uninspiring and lacks direction and solutions. It's a bunch of thugs talking smack in their broken "English" language, most of which is incomprehensible. The writer of this article says that the producers of this movie want the cops to come up with solutions, which is misleading. This trailer glorifies "thuglife". They don't want to listen to cops. The cops are telling people not to kill eachother and sell drugs and these people interviewed do not care about that. They're gonna do whatever they want because that's the way they do it in "the hood". When the citizens start to care about their communities, then we will see change. When people start to respect themselves, their lives, and their families, then we will have change. "Mothers in Charge" can't do it alone guys. Put down the weapons, stop selling drugs and killing people for petty shit and live peacefully. Finish school. Everybody together now. Nobody is going to solve the problems in your hood but you, yourselves. Not the cops, not your moms, not the mayor.”

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4. DMB Communications said... on Sep 24, 2008 at 07:55AM

“SEE The "Debut" Performance LIVe and in-person Friday, September 26th at 1:00 PM at Friends Neighborhood Guild 8th and Fairmount. The filmmakers will be on hand for a brief "Q&A" and M O R E ... BE THERE!”

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5. Brandon Angel said... on Dec 28, 2012 at 05:53PM

“We just wanted to dig and find out the real deal, the real mentality, the real factors involved with this hellish culture on the street. Once in the Mayan Civilization people were hacking out hearts and hacking of heads by the hundreds. They thought it would bring God's or possibly make them God's - how can we really know. As a maker of this film and not a native of Philly I would like to say that what I saw was everyone saying that they were a Boss. When I would asked what they were a Boss of, there wasn't much of an answer. This really led me to believe its monkey see monkey do behavior from the music that blares out of every car, in all the styling $200 headphones and whats seen on TV. I saw complete and utter chaos inside a group who is all using drugs and eating corner store processed foods. I would agree with this writer here and Daniel Chompsky the professor at Temple in the movie that this specific breed of life is contained to these neighborhoods. The biggest influential.....”


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