Buffalo’s acclaimed filmmaker, Addison Henderson, is preparing to release his next film which was shot in Buffalo, and will be premiered on September 24 at the Transit Drive-In Theater.
I caught up with Henderson, to discuss his new film, shooting in Buffalo, and the passing of his friend Chadwick Boseman (Black Panther).
“He was a best friend and brother,” stated Henderson. “We formed a creative partnership. I learned so much from Chad – our working relationship got me ready for this moment… he gave me script notes, and he came to Buffalo for a few days when I was filming, and while he was battling the disease. He is a person of tenacity and good will.”
Henderson worked alongside Boseman on Black Panther, talking to producers, figuring out schedules, dealing with staff, from hair and makeup to martial arts training, even hosting parties for cast and crew.
“It was a great opportunity,” said Henderson. “People got to know my name.”
Now, Henderson has written, directed, starred-in, and co-produced “G.O.D. – Givers of Death,” which recently won Best Screenplay at the American Black Film Festival. The film is being released by Henderson’s own production company – Night Owl Republic Films.
“We filmed it in 9 months – script to screen,” noted Henderson. “For a smaller indie movie, that was quite an accomplishment. It’s an apocalyptic tale of redemption. It’s a journey for a detective, who explores whether peace can be obtained when one exists in constant chaos. When I wrote the script, I was going through a divorce, and the idea of not being in my daughter’s life… it was something that I had to come to grips with. I was also dealing with my dad’s illness – I was searching for the meaning of my life.”
Henderson also told me that there is a virus in the movie, but that he wrote the script last year, before anyone even heard of COVID-19. “I had no idea,”Henderson told me. “Now people are asking if I can write a movie about a cure.”
As for the stars of the movie, Henderson mentioned that along with internationally recognized actor Louis Lombardi, a number of accomplished Buffalo actors are also in the film, including Frank Rossi, Josie DiVincenzo, and Richard Lambert. “There is also local actress Pamela Rose Mangus, who did a phenomenal job,” Henderson mentioned. “It was her first time in film. I want to support the local talent – I always start in Buffalo, to get the energy, and then take it to the world.”
When I asked Henderson about shooting in Buffalo, he said, “I honestly love my city. I have a spiritual connection to Buffalo. The city gave me a lot of soul. I had a great idea for the look of the film – the back side of The Central Terminal. Buffalo has so many cool, beautiful, rustic, aesthetics. MY plan is to constantly shoot in Buffalo – it’s becoming hot. With a 40% tax credit below the line, it makes it so that people want to do stuff here.”
It was clear that Henderson chose to premiere “G.O.D. – Givers of Death” at the Transit Drive-In Theater due to the limitations presented by COVID-19. “At the same time…” Henderson commented. “It’s the perfect setting for this film. I wrote a movie about a virus, we’re living in a virus world, and now I’m showing the movie at a drive-in in my hometown. It’s perfect.”
“G.O.D. – Givers of Death”
Written/Directed by: Addison Henderson
Starring: Addison Henderson | Duke Alfieri | Jonathan Sterritt | Jason Delane Lee | Louis Lombardi | Yvonne Lagramada | Huff Lee
Produced by: Trent Boling | Mac Cappuccino | JJ Alfieri | Addison Henderson
Executive Produced by: @The Lagralane Group | Jonathan Sterritt | dPost | Leroi Callwell Johnson