Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Deitrick Haddon Previews New Film to Chicago Audience

By Bob Marovich for The Black Gospel Blog.

Twenty years ago, singer, songwriter, actor, and sacred music innovator Deitrick Haddon literally experienced a Come-To-Jesus moment.

Eager to make his mark on the music industry, Haddon said, “I asked God, ‘What can I do that’s different?’  God spoke to me.  He said, ‘I will give you songs that people will sing.  You will write songs, tell stories…and make movies.’"

The songs came fast and furious for the native Detroiter, but movies?  Haddon admitted that back then, he did not know the first thing about filmmaking.  “But here it is, years later, and we’re making films.”

Haddon addressed an enthusiastic crowd at Chicago’s historic Fellowship M.B. Church yesterday evening who gathered to see preview snippets of his new film, A Beautiful Soul (Tyscot ManHaddon Films).  

Deitrick Haddon performs "Well Done" at Fellowship Chicago. 
Pastor Charles Jenkins and the Fellowship Choir opened the program by performing their current single, "Awesome."  Haddon, assisted by DJ Mr. Watkins, sang a few of his hits, including “Well Done.”  

The musical portion became so spirited that Haddon and the audience launched into a Pentecostal praise break, turning the Baptist church into a mini-revival, leaving at least one audience member sprawled in his seat, fanning himself with a Reserved sign.

A Beautiful Soul is a fictional story about Andre Stevens, a successful R&B star with a church background whose success has given him everything, including a narcissistic personality.  Stevens’ out-of-control lifestyle hits the wall after a brutal attack on his team turns everything sour.  Haddon explained, “God deals with Andre in the middle.”

The evening’s mistress of ceremonies was Inspiration 1390 PD and afternoon host Sonya Blakey, who facilitated a discussion with Haddon and Harry Lennix (The Five Heartbeats, The Matrix Reloaded).  Lennix plays Haddon’s manager, Jeff Freeze.

Lennix said that although he recently joined the Church of God in Christ, he grew up Catholic in Chicago and spent time as a Muslim.  He was not too familiar with today’s gospel sound but after listening to Haddon’s music to prepare for the film, he was moved by what he heard.

Haddon thanked Lennix and his other cast members for helping him hone his acting skills.  “Deitrick is a natural,” Lennix countered.  “You cannot teach chart and personality, and he’s full to the brim with both.”

During a Q&A period with the audience, Haddon said that A Beautiful Soul is not a Biblical story but one he was inspired to write.  “It’s a gritty, urban inspirational film.  We go there.  But everybody can relate to this movie because we all have souls and all of them are beautiful.”

The CD of music inspired by the film includes selections by Haddon as well as such gospel artists as Faith Evans, Kierra Sheard and Canton Jones.

Haddon said he hopes viewers leave the theater with an understanding that “when you are obedient, you tap into what God wants.  When you do that, He’ll help you to accomplish what you want to accomplish.”

Directed by Jeff Byrd, A Beautiful Soul combines drama, music and action, the right combination for the big screen, where AMC executives, who have embraced the picture, are taking it.  From the scenes previewed yesterday, the film appears far superior to Haddon's first feature film, Blessed & Cursed.    

The movie opens in eleven major markets on May 4.  If early response is positive, Haddon said, AMC could move the film into additional markets.  

For more information, visit www.abeautifulsoulmovie.com.

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