Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags

A Tale of ‘You People’

Filmmaker Laron Chapman makes his deadCenter debut



 



A local filmmaker’s deadCenter Film Festival debut, “You People,” is a dramedy about race and sexuality based on his experience growing up in a mixed-race family. Laron Chapman was born in Hutchinson, Kansas, but his family relocated to OKC when he was five. He would go on to graduate from Putnam City High School and OU, and it was at the university that he first encountered the kind of racial language deconstructed in his film.
 

“My roommate called me ‘the whitest black guy ever,’” Chapman says. “I grew up in a family that never really addressed racial issues, so it was late middle school or high school before I learned people have certain assumptions about me.”

The realization inspired him to think through what it means to be a “double minority,” a gay, biracial male. He started his OU program in film studies, but the university expanded the degree to film and media studies. Chapman was a good writer, so screenwriting appealed to him. He said he really didn’t consider producing and directing until faced with the task of creating a film around the script of “You People.”

“I wanted to be involved with every aspect of my film – it was my first feature film – so I ended up casting and directing, too,” Chapman says.

The entire budget was only $40,000, but the production values and what Chapman calls “the scope of the film” would still be impressive even with a much bigger bankroll. Some of that is due to Chapman’s creative control, and some is the result of help from new and old friends.

“I hired the Burns brothers as a camera crew,” Chapman says. “They were winners at DCFF last year, and then Jabee was super generous. I took a chance and asked him to donate his music to the soundtrack. He said yes.”

Old friends helped, too, including critical input about the script and early versions of the film from Yousef Kazemi of the Oklahoma Film and Music Office. Kazemi has an acting role in “You People,” as well. Another old friend, local composer Gabriel Gallear, scored the film with collaboration partner Nick Poss.

 


 

“Yousef had the expertise to look at early versions and make critical improvements,” Chapman says. “Your family and friends are going to say nice things, but you need a friend who can see what needs to be changed, too.”

Some of those changes were in early versions of the script, which Chapman calls “very confrontational.”

“I think people are ready to talk about issues of race and sexuality, but I don’t think they want to be hit over the head with it,” he says. “I read through the original script, and I had to admit that I wouldn’t want to be on the receiving end of that kind of message.”

The film is centered around key experiences from Chapman’s life, so he needed to be true to the story, but change the approach. The final script and film have a narrative arc that begins with humor, but it takes a more dramatic turn as the protagonist – a black male raised in a white family – comes to realize who he is, the privileged life he’s led and what it will take to incorporate the other parts of his heritage, family and identity.

“You People” will debut at Harkins Theater at 8:30 p.m. June 7. Chapman will participate in a filmmakers’ panel discussion at the ACM@UCO lounge at 10 a.m. June 8. An encore screening will be held at 6 p.m. June 10 at Harkins. For passes to this film or any of the deadCenter slate, visit deadcenterfilm.org.

 

► Like What You Read?


Like us on Facebook, follow us on Twitter and Instagram

To stay posted about other events in the metro, sign up for our free email newsletter here.
 

 

Edit ModuleShow Tags

Archive »You Might Like

Madison Cunningham’s Come-Up

The young singer prepares to open an OKC show for The Punch Brothers

Touring Fort Smith

From the historic courtroom of Judge Isaac Parker to the new Park at West End, Elaine Warner finds plenty of highlights in Arkansas’ second-largest city.

The Palazzolo Palazzo

Designer Lindsay Palazzolo combines neutral shades, multiple textures and a sense of airiness throughout the entirety of her remodeled Nichols Hills palace.

Add your comment:
Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags

Calendar

September 2018

No Events
No Events
No Events
No Events

More than 20 speakers in a one-track session designed for the digital marketing professional, marketer, business owner or anyone interested in branding, PR, advertising, social media, SEO, search,...

Cost: $250

Where:
Tower Theatre
425 NW 23rd St
Oklahoma City, OK  73103
View map »


Sponsor: BigWing
Telephone: 405.475.4185
Contact Name: Janelle Archer
Website »

More information

This year will mark the eighth time the John F. Kennedy Awards have been celebrated, honoring individuals making a significant contribution to Oklahoma, its communities and its people, while paying...

Cost: $300

Where:
Skirvin Hilton Hotel
1 Park Ave.
Oklahoma City, OK  73102
View map »


Sponsor: Santa Fe Family Life Center
Telephone: 405-840-1817
Contact Name: James Timberlake
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

More than 20 speakers in a one-track session designed for the digital marketing professional, marketer, business owner or anyone interested in branding, PR, advertising, social media, SEO, search,...

Cost: $250

Where:
Tower Theatre
425 NW 23rd St
Oklahoma City, OK  73103
View map »


Sponsor: BigWing
Telephone: 405.475.4185
Contact Name: Janelle Archer
Website »

More information

Price Tower Art Gallery in Bartlesville will host Women Artists of the West's 48th annual juried art exhibition, featuring over 200 original art works, created by women in all mediums, subjects...

Cost: Free 2018-09-21,22,23

Where:
Price Tower Art Gallery
510 S. Dewey Ave.
Bartlesville, OK  74003
View map »


Sponsor: Price Tower Arts Center
Telephone: 918.336.4949
Contact Name: Angelina Bourgou
Website »

More information

Escape the ordinary, and learn about OKC from a different point of view. Relax in the climate controlled cabin on one of our 65’ cruisers, or enjoy the breeze on the viewing deck and listen...

Cost: $15 for Seniors and kids under 12, $20 Adults

Where:
Regatta Landing
701 S. Lincoln Blvd.
OKC, OK  73109
View map »


Telephone: 405.702.7755
Contact Name: Business Office
Website »

More information

A fabulous art auction to raise money to help support Oklahoma A+ Schools at UCO.

Cost: $100

Where:
CHK|Central Boathouse
732 Riversport Dr.
Oklahoma City, OK  73129
View map »


Sponsor: Oklahoma A+ Schools at UCO
Telephone: 405.974.3791
Contact Name: Heather Bryant
Website »

More information

The evening Cocktail Cruise offers stunning views of the downtown skyline, the Boathouse District and Finish Line Tower, the Wheeler Ferris wheel and quite possibly an amazing Oklahoma sunset. Come...

Cost: $15 for Seniors and kids under 12, $20 Adults

Where:
Regatta Landing
701 S. Lincoln Blvd.
OKC, OK  73109
View map »


Telephone: 405.702.7755
Contact Name: Business Office
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

Join supporters in communities across the nation for the St. Jude Walk/Run to End Childhood Cancer during Childhood Cancer Awareness Month. This family-friendly event raises funds to support the...

Cost: $10 for adults or children six and older

Where:
Stars and Stripes Park
3701 S. Lake Hefner Drive
Oklahoma City , OK  73116
View map »


Telephone: 405.403.7762
Contact Name: Emily Drover
Website »

More information

Let’s end childhood cancer. Together! This September, supporters across the country will unite to participate in the St. Jude Walk/Run to End Childhood Cancer, an exciting, family-friendly...

Cost: $10 for Registration

Where:
Stars and Stripes Park
3701 S Lake Hefner Dr
Oklahoma City, OK  73116
View map »


Sponsor: ALSAC St. Jude Oklahoma City
Telephone: 405.403.7762
Contact Name: Emily Drover
Website »

More information

Price Tower Art Gallery in Bartlesville will host Women Artists of the West's 48th annual juried art exhibition, featuring over 200 original art works, created by women in all mediums, subjects...

Cost: Free 2018-09-21,22,23

Where:
Price Tower Art Gallery
510 S. Dewey Ave.
Bartlesville, OK  74003
View map »


Sponsor: Price Tower Arts Center
Telephone: 918.336.4949
Contact Name: Angelina Bourgou
Website »

More information

Escape the ordinary, and learn about OKC from a different point of view. Relax in the climate controlled cabin on one of our 65’ cruisers, or enjoy the breeze on the viewing deck and listen...

Cost: $15 for Seniors and kids under 12, $20 Adults

Where:
Regatta Landing
701 S. Lincoln Blvd.
OKC, OK  73109
View map »


Telephone: 405.702.7755
Contact Name: Business Office
Website »

More information

The evening Cocktail Cruise offers stunning views of the downtown skyline, the Boathouse District and Finish Line Tower, the Wheeler Ferris wheel and quite possibly an amazing Oklahoma sunset. Come...

Cost: $15 for Seniors and kids under 12, $20 Adults

Where:
Regatta Landing
701 S. Lincoln Blvd.
OKC, OK  73109
View map »


Telephone: 405.702.7755
Contact Name: Business Office
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...
Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit Module Edit ModuleShow Tags