political thriller TV series with Port Lavaca as a backdrop | Entertainment
In 2012, when gunshots broke out during a midnight screening of “The Dark Knight Rises” at the Century Aurora 16 Multiplex Theater in Aurora, Colorado, Eric Hunter was watching a movie in an adjacent theater.
As several bullets pierced the walls and smoke began to rise in his theater, Hunter said he descended the stairs and opened the door to find two injured young women standing outside. He shot them inside the theater and closed the door just as the gunman turned around the corner. Hunter survived the mass shooting that ended in 12 deaths.
” I do not want to die. I haven’t done what I want to do and I want to help people, ”Hunter said of the thoughts going through his mind.
Hunter channeled this desire into Malichi O’Shea Edwards, the main character of a television series, “O’Shea”, shot primarily with an iPhone 11 Pro Max in Port Lavaca.
“I put those ideas in a character, and it’s O’Shea. I’ve been developing it for a long time now, and it’s the culmination of it all, ”said Hunter. “It was kind of a trip. It really sparked something in me to do something.
Hunter developed the series with his actor partner, Antrone Harris, who plays O’Shea. Together, they own H&H Studios in Houston and hope to stream their series on Netflix.
“It has been a challenge on a shoestring… we are self-funding the hotels, the lighting team and the sound team,” said Hunter. “We’re both still working (other jobs).”
Hunter has directed a few short films in the action, horror and drama genres while working in marketing. Harris owns a trucking business. They are also launching a tech startup.
“We’re making it happen as best we can, staying true to what we believe in, keeping our heads down and moving forward,” said Hunter.
The duo discovered Port Lavaca via social networks. William Harris shot a video of his hometown, Port Lavaca, and posted the footage to a film board on Facebook. With the camera of his cell phone, he walked along Colorado Street where he grew up, on the pier above Lavaca Bay, along the waterfront dotted with homes and historic sites. The scenery caught Hunter’s attention.
William Harris has said he recognizes his city is a filmmaker’s dream.
“I noticed it was a great backdrop for a show. It has a good atmosphere; open, giving people; and a bridge entering the city, ”he said. “He saw my videos on Facebook and sent me a message.”
Hunter and Antrone Harris were impressed with the possibilities offered by Port Lavaca.
“Honestly, the opportunity to be able to shoot there and use the whole city (that was why we chose the site). It came through William Harris, “said Hunter,” And once we looked around the city and saw the possibilities that were open to us, I was sold and so was my partner. “
Hunter and Antrone Harris have met with city officials.
“The mayor and I have met Antrone Harris and Eric Hunter, and they seem like a good bunch of people,” said William DiLibero, City Manager of Port Lavaca. “It’s a good project they’re working on… hopefully it will bring good press to the city, and they’ll be successful with their project as well. “
Filming is not entirely new to the region. The movie “Alamo Bay,” which was shot in the 1980s, brought Ed Harris and Louis Malle to the area, DiLibero said.
“It’s been a long time since we had a film production, so it will be interesting to see what comes out of it,” he continued.
Antrone Harris has stated that he has played roles in “Drop Dead Diva” on Lifetime as well as “Fatal Attraction” and “Snapped” on Oxygen.
“I like ‘O’Shea’ because it’s different,” said Harris. “O’Shea is a revolutionary leader, and I’ve never played a role like this before. It’s a combination of a modern day MLK and Malcolm X.
At first, O’Shea used violence to counter violence like Malcolm X, Harris said. However, he eventually moved away from this approach and began to rely more on his words and intellect to effect change in his community, as Martin Luther King did.
“The mind is a powerful thing,” said Harris. “Every now and then, when his buttons are pressed, he reverts to his old ways, but he finds out that he is not who he is anymore.”
Hunter said the show takes place in a community divided by racism and sexism in Trump’s America. As O’Shea tries to avoid violence, others are drawn into chaos and things are going too far, he said.
“It’s not white against black. They are oppressors and oppressed. It’s not about color, ”said Hunter. “Those in the world who are oppressed must come together to create an atmosphere of change. We are bringing this to Port Lavaca and want to spread this message to the rest of the world. “
Hunter wants to inspire people with his series.
“We would be better all together, not divided into different tribes,” he said. “We want to create change and come together. It’s a different view of blacks and diversity, a message to be talked about around the dinner table or the water fountain. “
For about four months, a cast of 58 and a crew of 15 have been filming the series. Many of the 200 or so extras were residents of Port Lavaca.
“I want to thank Port Lavaca for opening its doors and allowing us to come here,” said Antrone Harris. “We want to give everyone the opportunity to be a part of the show. We can’t do this without a community, so we want to give back – also give them a chance to be seen and heard. “
Pinpointing the location of William Harris led to a position as co-producer of the television series. He is also an operations technician for Newscenter 25, and he plans to run for Port Lavaca city council, he said.
“Some of the extras have speaker roles to showcase local talent and give them a chance to shine in production,” he said. “Port Lavaca is a hidden gem.”
Elena Anita Watts covers arts, culture and entertainment for Victoria Advocate.