Badland is a superhero science fiction short film. This is a news-worthy story set in an alternate world. The Philadelphia Badlands houses the greatest heroin and opioid epidemic on the East Coast. In broad daylight people shoot up and keep themselves alive only to get high. Cops refuse to retrieve dead bodies in fear of disease and fatal compounds in the air.
At this very moment, the city seeks help to cure the neighborhood. Compared to other entry level films, this short, thoughtful drama dresses as a SkidRow superhero to explore addition’s psychological impact on relationships. This will attract an audience that would not normally listen, or necessarily care about a city overrun by addiction; this will tune them in to what’s happening around them.
The heroes and villains don’t wear capes and tights; they blend in with civilians. Badland will film on location in the neighborhoods directly affected by the heroin epidemic. Titan’s battle with heroin explores addiction and recovery; but, more importantly, letting go. The heroin visualizes the things Titan hangs on to, and how letting go will move him forward. Everyone has something or someone they could relinquish to make a positive change in their life. But for Titan, letting go means losing everything he knows about himself. Badland sheds light on not only on the horrors of addiction, but also on the hope attached to it.
In addition to his study at Temple University, Drew has taken graduate-level classes at the University of Southern California for Screenwriting, in addition to upper level classes under Lauren Wolkstein (The Strange Ones, SXSW) here at Temple in directing. He is taking the Directing Master Class BFA course, which is a culmination of all of his major film studies: Race and Sex in film; Telling the Superhero Story, Advanced Screenwriting, Pilot Writing, Pitching the Screenplay, Scene Analysis, and Directing the Actor. Drew spent the majority of his academic career studying the art of storytelling. For him, this film project is the culmination of all his undergraduate work. Not only his film courses, but also his general education and liberal arts experience has provided him with insights about the world.
For Drew and Eve, Badland will not only serve as a social awareness piece, but also a calling card for them and many other Temple Graduates for their careers in the film industry. It takes a small army to make a film, and almost everyone working on the project is either a Temple student or alumni. If the film is received well, it can turn into more jobs for Temple students in a highly competitive industry.
In addition to their film class experience, both Drew and Eve have practiced their craft in the real world. Drew worked under Hollywood producer, David Permut (Face-Off, Hacksaw Ridge) of Permut Presentations, and received one on one mentorship. He worked in pre-production for Illumination Entertainment (Minions, Despicable Me, The Secret Life of Pets) and helped in the pre-production process for some of their titular films, including the yet to be released Grinch reboot. In addition, Eve works at FringeArts, a Philadelphia institution modeled of the Edinburgh festival, in financial arts management. She has a background in studio fine arts and photography, and spent several years studying the classical masters. She has focused her college career on film producing, the combination of art and business.
This project is significant for both Eve and Drew because of the planned distribution circuit. Upon the completion of the film, Eve will manage the logistics of making sure the film is submitted not only to student festivals, but also competitions local and international. She will work with Drew to market the film an outlet for people to see an alternative universe of possibility for those afflicted by the opioid epidemic. Drew seeks to use the film as a teaching tool, and will do a small screening tour in the area to ensure the ultimate message, informing people into the heroin addiction, is spread with due diligence.
Drew and Eve’s goal in this endeavor is to create art that both redefines what people know about the heroin epidemic as well as embrace the internal conflict of addiction’s psychological impact. The film acts as a bridge between social injustice and a world where even fantasy does not cover it up. In order for this project to work, Eve and Drew are being as responsible as possible to create something new with the message. After all, the Degas reigns true, “Art is not what you see, but what you make others see.”