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Movie Producer Lets High Schoolers Promote New Film For Service Hours

By Wendell Hutson | January 28, 2014 6:44am
 A movie directed by an Englewood-native is offering high school students an opportunity to earn service learning hours by promoting it using social media.
Englewood Movie
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ENGLEWOOD — A movie producer and her Englewood-native husband are offering high school students an opportunity to earn service learning hours by helping them promote their upcoming movie using social media.

Kenya Reaves, whose stage name is Kenya Renee, and her husband Parris Reaves, wrapped up filming for the movie "Deacon's Choice" on Dec. 20. The couple wants help getting the word out about the film before its scheduled release in May.

"Students can earn up to 20 hours a week in service learning hours working as an a marketing intern for us," said Kenya Reaves, who noted that ideal candidates would have access to a computer or have Internet capability on their cell phones.

"I figured since most teenagers use social media anyway this would be a good fit for them," she said. "I would need students to already be computer literate because they would work from home marketing the film through Facebook, Twitter and other social media."

Kenya Reaves said 22 students have signed up as interns and the first six students started last week. For more information about becoming a movie intern, students should call Kenya, a teacher's aide at Ace Tech Charter High School, at 773-406-7663. In Illinois, students are required to perform 40 hours of service learning prior to graduation.

The 90-minute, independent movie is about a former Chicago politician and choices he made that affected his family. The movie is produced by Hawkfilmz Enterprize, which is owned by the Reaves'.

"Some people might see the movie and think it is about Jesse Jackson Jr., but it is really about the life of a black politician in Chicago," Kenya Reaves said.

Parris Reaves, who lived in the 6400 block of South Lowe Avenue from 1975 to 1988, said he has seen his old neighborhood change drastically over the years.

"Growing up in Englewood, everybody knew one another and you did not have to worry about getting shot walking to and from school," said Parris Reaves, 43, an Englewood High School graduate. "Today, people do not know their neighbors and kids have to travel along safe passage routes to get home safely.

Although "Deacon's Choice" was not filmed in Englewood, Kenya Reaves said youths from the nonprofit Teamwork Englewood worked on the film last summer providing tech assistance.

"Youths working on the movie worked out of our office," said Rosalind Moore, program manager for Teamwork Englewood.

Scenes were also filmed at Ace Tech Charter.

"Basically, the movie was filmed at everyone's convenience over 15 days," she said. "Now we are in the post production portion where editing is taking place."

Chatham 14 Theaters will show the film, and Kenya Reaves said she is in talks with the AMC Theaters in south suburban Country Club Hills to feature it as well.

"Outside of Chicago, the movie will be shown in Memphis and Cincinnati where we know people," she said. "This is not my first movie I have produced, but it is the first movie I have written and produced and I am very excited about the movie and the impact it will have on African Americans.