Deco Drive alumn directs film set in Liberty City

What happens when a dream dies before it has the chance to come true? That’s the question asked in “Fade Away,” the latest film from Miami-born director, Antwan Smith. Antwan’s a member of the Deco family — he used to be a cameraman here at 7. We caught up with him at Midtown Studios and Films in Miami to get the deets on his latest project.

“Fade Away” is a new film directed by our former Deco Drive colleague, Antwan Smith.

Antwan Smith: “It’s about the story of a young man who has natural, amazing, natural basketball talents, and he pretty much wants to take those skills from the hood to the NBA.”

Fate has other plans for the young man.

Antwan Smith: “Once he goes to college, he injures his knee before his first game, and he’s forced to drop out.”

Returning to the hood, he’s faced with drugs and violence and a whole bunch of problems he thought he left behind.

Most of the film was shot nearby.

Antwan Smith: “‘Fade Away’ is a story that takes place in Liberty City, Florida, in one of the most notorious communities in South Florida.”

Antwan made sure to keep the look and feel of the film as “real” as he could.

Antwan Smith: “We wanted real sets, real life, and we ended up filming it in all parts of the city — Liberty City, Overtown, some stuff Downtown. Miami, in fact, is a character in the film.”

The main character’s closeness to his grandmother is the film’s emotional center.

Chrystale Wilson (as Ms. Money): “There’s only two ways out of that life — death or jail.”

That relationship drew Antwan to the project.

Antwan Smith: “I instantly made a connection with the script. I’m a kid that’s from the inner city. I grew up with my grandmother. She raised me, and this was a story that told that story.”

Once filming was done, various studios started a bidding war to release the movie.

Sony Pictures won.

Antwan Smith: “We gave them the final product. They loved it, we did the deal, and the movie came out Jan. 2.”

Noel Gugliemi (as Flaco): “You need to get your mind right, man. Come mess with me.”

Donell Harris (as Kenny Wright): “Basketball is my thing.”

Noel Gugliemi (as Flaco): “Yeah, but your knee had other plans, man. Get in the car, man.”

“Fade Away” is available now on DVD.

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