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Production team impacts community with short film

Crime-suspense drama "Jeremy" is slated to be a beacon of light for a city already impacted by tornadoes and the pandemic.

Posted: Dec 29, 2020 11:48 PM
Updated: Dec 30, 2020 9:15 AM

COLUMBUS, Miss. (WTVA) — Two Columbus screenwriters are using a short film to inspire, motivate, and represent residents of the city.

Jonathan Durrah is a writer, producer, and the leading actor in the crime-suspense drama short film “Jeremy.”

He auditioned and was cast for the character, Jeremy.

"Jeremy” is about a local drug dealer who meets a mentor and successful businessman, Chris, and wants to turn his life around.

Things take a turn when Jeremy’s best friend, Zaybo, wants to make Chris a target for a break-in.

“It’s about everyday life that people like us face and I just wanted to shed light on the type of things that we endure,” said Durrah.

Paquita Hughes, Co-Writer and Executive Producer for “Jeremy”, said Jonathan Durrah emailed her the story idea a few years ago.

Hughes teamed up with Durrah to adapt the story to a screen film.

“This message needs to be told and I’m glad it’s coming from someone like you- a young black man in this town,” she said about Durrah.

Hughes moved to Columbus when she was five years old. She became neighbors with Durrah and was close with his family.

She said it was no surprise when Durrah became an aspiring screenwriter, especially after watching him grow up and read books all the time.

Hughes graduated from Mississippi State University and was stationed in California while serving in the military. After attending film school, she eventually traveled back to Columbus.

"When you do a film like this you’re going to show people what’s capable of happening with community support of Columbus natives who leave, become successful and come back," said Hughes.

The film crew flew in a team from Los Angeles and hired local vendors and businesses in Columbus to invest back into the community.

“I hope to motivate people like me that come from Mississippi,” said Durrah. “We don’t see these types of things often around here, so I hope it motivates the youth, I hope it motivates people my age and the elderly.”

Hughes said the production of “Jeremy” is a great opportunity for visitors to learn the culture of Columbus and for natives to see themselves represented on the big screen.

Both Durrah and Hughes said they hope this film is a beacon of light to residents in Columbus because the city endured natural disasters and a global pandemic all in a few years.

“Dreams do come true, you just got to chase it,” said Durrah.

Hughes also said she hopes this short film opens the door to more film festivals, more funds to make bigger productions, more opportunities for minorities and ultimately investing back into the city of Columbus.

Tuesday was the fourth day of filming. The production team allotted five days to film the motion picture. 

Rock Violet Motion is accepting donations through its website here.

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 515504

Reported Deaths: 10296
CountyCasesDeaths
Harrison34999558
DeSoto33360432
Hinds32743643
Jackson24906392
Rankin22565405
Lee16455245
Madison14954283
Jones14158248
Forrest13834260
Lauderdale12311323
Lowndes11357193
Lamar10693140
Pearl River9748244
Lafayette8868143
Hancock7849132
Washington7559169
Oktibbeha7229138
Monroe7068179
Pontotoc7033110
Warren6885178
Panola6791135
Neshoba6744210
Marshall6707142
Bolivar6468151
Union643598
Pike5942157
Alcorn5921107
Lincoln5540136
George510680
Prentiss508285
Tippah495683
Itawamba4884107
Scott478999
Tate4777117
Adams4776125
Leflore4749144
Copiah458195
Yazoo458092
Simpson4566117
Wayne443472
Covington434895
Sunflower4319106
Marion4295112
Coahoma4244110
Leake414191
Newton396182
Tishomingo386894
Grenada3789109
Stone366166
Jasper341266
Attala340490
Chickasaw318367
Winston318392
Clay312978
Clarke301695
Calhoun286850
Holmes272889
Smith270552
Yalobusha244947
Tallahatchie232353
Greene225149
Walthall222166
Lawrence220242
Perry214556
Amite210357
Webster206548
Noxubee188843
Montgomery182157
Carroll175441
Jefferson Davis174343
Tunica163539
Benton153139
Kemper145441
Choctaw137027
Claiborne134839
Humphreys132239
Franklin126530
Quitman107828
Wilkinson106139
Jefferson97134
Sharkey65321
Issaquena1957
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 848137

Reported Deaths: 16185
CountyCasesDeaths
Jefferson1164052005
Mobile743681384
Madison53497738
Shelby38435371
Baldwin38195589
Tuscaloosa36152644
Montgomery34562782
Lee25655264
Calhoun22630520
Morgan22530411
Etowah20069520
Marshall18846318
Houston17777426
St. Clair16958359
Limestone16195220
Cullman16157306
Elmore15940295
Lauderdale15069307
Talladega14260302
DeKalb13083271
Walker12168380
Blount10779193
Autauga10560157
Jackson10214196
Coffee9435192
Colbert9366210
Dale9044192
Tallapoosa7285202
Russell710065
Chilton7090170
Covington6969197
Escambia6967144
Franklin6364108
Chambers5801142
Marion5437132
Dallas5302210
Pike5129109
Clarke485786
Lawrence4850130
Winston4793110
Geneva4655136
Bibb435795
Barbour370680
Butler3444101
Marengo342993
Monroe338366
Randolph337867
Pickens334890
Fayette331785
Henry321166
Cherokee320364
Hale319189
Crenshaw261678
Washington256852
Cleburne255460
Lamar253555
Clay252969
Macon246367
Conecuh193562
Coosa186048
Wilcox178538
Lowndes178468
Bullock152845
Perry141840
Sumter139841
Greene130545
Choctaw94428
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