“My father used to tell my brother you only get one chance to make a mark on this Earth…after that it’s almost like you never existed.”
From the founder of Falling Leaves Films and director of the 2009 award winning film Blood Line, independent movie director Steve Rahaman brings To Be King a film on the strength of family, the intensity of boxing, the horror of crime, the sweetness of love, and the beauty of renewal. The movie was in the making since 2008, and it is set to premiere this fall at the New York International Film Festival in October 2011. The date has yet to be released, but for movie-goers, here’s a sneak preview.
To Be King channels an underlying theme of not being able to live up to one’s own father. Tyrone, the film’s lead, constantly faces both positive and negative objections from his family saying, “You’re nothing like your father.” Having to face the challenge of living up to his father, a boxing champion, Tyrone turns to an old man played by Frank Merlino, to act as his trainer. With The Karate Kid references and the old trainer’s wise character, the boxing scenes become all the more emotionally-charged. Rahaman does a good job at making the boxing scenes not only believable but intense. Each fight scene brings strong sound effects coupled with a heart-pounding reaction.
The diverse cast of actors and actresses give way to the movie’s subtle message that despite the darkness of your skin tone, you can still overcome hurdles. However the movie also portrays the sadness when one fights against their own kind. To Be King depicts a boxing scene where Tyrone is faced with fighting his fellow African-American opponent played by Roosevelt Norris. The white boxing promoter jeers on telling Tyrone to “Finish Him!” and Tyrone is faced with choosing boxing glory or saving brotherhood. The movie also suggests the use of racial profiling by police in the scene where two street cops are investigating a robbery and they insist on asking the witness to identify the robber as black.
Steve Rahaman uses biblical references to develop Tyrone’s lines. Rahaman makes an effort to show the religious aspects of the main character as he mentioned that regardless of race, class, or faith, his goal was to show that “He’s not just a robber. He’s a human being that also needs to pray.” The film strives to communicate with reality, especially to members of Brooklyn and Queens with numerous visuals of an entering J train into 104 Street and scenes from Rockaway Boulevard featuring Trade Fair. The boxing ring used to shoot most of the fighting scenes is also located at the border of Brooklyn and Queens.
The film’s plot, screenplay, special effects, music and spontaneously original performances show the true depth and technique of the movie. To Be King is not only a taste of boxing; it satisfies the romantic and comedic aspects necessary for a well-rounded film. We watch Tyrone struggle with serious isses such as crime and fighting while he also crushes over his social worker and tries to overcome his own butterflies. Tyrone is such a real, but dynamic character who we root for from the beginning to the end. To Be King is a movie that should be on the radar of any one interested in a blend of crime, drama, action, and inspiration.
It seems like in this day and age, achieving a dream may seem impossible. But for the cast and crew of this new independent film, To Be King, this Lion King dream may help them reach their goal. Steve Rahaman explained to me that his ultimate goal is to make it all the way to Hollywood. And that just might happen with the support from the community and those at Falling Leaves Films where they continue to keep scratching until they make a permanent mark on our society
To Be King is a movie that tells a story of a man who is lost but desperately trying to pick up the pieces and make his mark on the world. The film shows us what it really means to pick up where you left off, how hard it is to change your life around, but how rewarding it could be to make the right decisions. To Be King is in simplest terms, a movie that shows what it really means… to be a King.
ADVANCED PRIVATE SCREENING:
To Be King
Directed by Steve Rahaman
Anthology Film Archives 32 Second Avenue New York, NY 10003
July 7th 2011, 9PM