Atlanta-based GMC has focused its energies on inspirational films for the whole family.
No gratuitous violence, no histrionics, no sexual innuendo.
Siddeeqah Powell, who works at Delta Air Lines as a supply attendant and moved to Atlanta from Brooklyn at age 7, followed the GMC model when penning the script for “Somebody’s Child,” starring Lynn Whitfield and Michael Jai White, which airs tonight (August 25) at 7 p.m., 9 p.m. and 11 p.m. on GMC.
She entered it for The American Black Film Festival’s GMC Faith and Family Screenplay competition. “Somebody’s Child” came in second out of 131 submissions. But in this case, coming in second was still a victory because GMC turned her writing into a film, which airs tonight at 7 p.m., 9 p.m. and 11 p.m.
Powell, who graduated from Mays High School and Georgia Tech and ran track, said she has written much edgier stuff (such as missionary work after the Haiti earthquake) but was simply following the dictums of the competition. “I’ve been writing for some time,” Powell said. “I’m looking for another avenue to be recognized for my work.”
Brad Siegel, vice chairman at GMC, calls Powell “one of the most radiant, beautiful girls you’d ever meet.”
The film itself is gentle and sweet, without many rough edges in the characters. Even the criminal in the story is hardly evil. Whitfield plays a mom who needs a kidney. White plays the dutiful son. A stranger donates a kidney and a major plot twist occurs, though it’s telegraphed early because she has to give a baby away in an opening flashback.
“It’s very quiet. Nothing raging. No lunacy going on,” Powell said. “I was trying to make a hopeful spin on awful things.”
In fact, it opens with the Serenity Prayer. “I treasure that,” she said. “It’s something my great, grandmother gave me, a card with the prayer on it. I believe in it. It truly says it all.”
Powell said she was absolutely “blown away” by the cast. “I was totally honored to have these people on my first screenplay,” she said. “They were so interactive with me. I was on set twice and it was just encouraging.”
The film is supposed to be set in Savannah. “I was in Savannah before I wrote this and that’s where I got the idea, the weeping willows in the median,” she said. She said she also was thinking of Georgia’s tax credits, too. “I was giving myself every chance to get selected,” she said. In the end, it was shot in Wilmington, N.C., which can pass for Savannah. (North Carolina offers comparable tax credits.)
“Somebody’s Child” Saturday, 7 p.m., 9 p.m., 11 p.m., GMC
By Rodney Ho, Radio & TV Talk