MIAMI GARDENS, FLA. (WSVN) - Two students from Norland Middle School in Miami Gardens had starring roles in the LGBT film, “Moonlight.”
“Moonlight” tells the story of Chiron, a young man working to navigate life in Miami’s Liberty City neighborhood, all while being gay.
Young Chiron is played by 12-year-old Alex Hibbert, while 13-year-old Jaden Piner plays Kevin, Chiron’s best friend.
However, in real life, Hibbert and Piner are students in the drama class of Tanisha Cidel, who also has a role in the film.
“We received a call from Barry and Adele, who are the producer and the director of the film, and they heard about Norland Middle School’s magnet program and they wanted to come to see if they could audition the kids,” Cidel said.
The role served as a big break for both Hibbert and Piner. “It was a good experience, and it’s a movie that’s never been told before,” Hibbert said. “I hope you guys like it.”
Piner, however, has one issue with the film, he can’t watch it. “I don’t really like watching myself, because — I don’t know — it makes me feel weird for some reason,” he said.
Norland Middle’s magnet program has been around since 1984, and it holds a special place in Cidel’s heart.
“I, myself, was a student here, so coming back and giving back to the community and to the students here is exactly what I want to do,” Cidel said.
Cidel’s teaching methods help the students excel not only as actors, but as people. “Miss Cidel, one of the things she always tells us is respect and manners and how to carry yourself, but in your own way, and I got this movie and I’m gonna do more,” Hibbert said.
“Moonlight” is now playing in theaters.
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