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.