‘Dreams,’ Produced by Joel Kapity, Marvin Winans Jr., Explores Childhood Demons Through a Tale of Hope & Triumph
Producer/Director Joel Kapity, Producer Daniel Wilson, Producer Marvin Winans, Jr., of the world-renowned Winans Gospel family, introduce to the big screen “Dreams,” an enthralling tale of four dreamers struggling to overcome their daunting youth tainted by childhood demons, while grinding to pursue their desires of making it big doing what they love most, dancing, singing, making music and boxing. “Dreams” will premier at 8:00 p.m. on Friday, November 16 at the historic Portage Theater (4050 N. Milwaukee Ave., Chicago, Ill.). The Red Carpet Event will begin at 7:00 p.m. with well-known cast members, including Grammy Award Nominee Angie Stone, Award-Winning Gospel Recording Artist Vickie Winans, Actress Terri J. Vaughn, and Actors Tommy Ford and Mel Jackson.
To create this journey to “Dreams,” Kapity chose a tempo similar to that of a dark, contemporary and voguish ballet. The film is set at a pace meant to make finding the pieces of the puzzle satisfying, but not disengaging.
“Dreams” takes shape in Joilet, Ill., a rugged inner city community outside of Chicago, and is home to more talented young kids than many would expect. Similar to the actors in the film, these kids have dreams of being the best at what they do–singers, dancers and rappers; and, at a retired boxer’s boxing gym, there are even dreamers who believe from this small town, they have a shot at becoming the next champion of the world. They work hard practicing, training, doing all they physically can to pursue their dreams. From the outside looking in, they seem to have conquered all – young, hip, cool, and fashionable – but in this small town, as in many urban cities, looks can be deceiving.
“Mia” (Syesha Mercado), “Quentin”(MARCHELLO LEE), “Paalo” (JOSEPH AWINONGYA), and “Alonzo” (JASON “J’SON” WATSON), all have dreams of life free from the bonds of their childhood in this city. These four dreamers collide in an unexpected manner when attempting to release life’s frustrations to chase happiness and reunite their families. Placed in a world they did not choose, sent out to manage a life they would rather forget, a mix of guilt and shame hinders them from singing, dancing and boxing themselves free from their tainted past. Jackson portrayed “Mia’s Father”; Vaughn played “Elise” ”Quentin’s” sister; Ford is “Jackson” “Elise’s” husband; Stone assumed the role of “Marlene” “Alonzo’s” mother; and Winans is Veronica, “Mia’s Mother.”
Joel was excited to integrate the talents of seasoned Hollywood actors with new faces, while Marvin was equally excited to have a part in “Dreams.” “Donte,” played by Winans, is a notorious criminal and king of the hill who lurks in the shadows to try and corrupt the lives of these dreamers.
Kapity knew he had to make this film but he also knew he could not make the film on his own. So he called on people he knew he could trust to do the jobs he needed. Some would, however, be surprised that he called on a friend from the music industry as his main producer. “Marvin and I have similar visions for the types of films we want to make and why we want to make them,” Kapity says decidedly, while explaining why he partnered with Marvin Winans Jr. from the famous Gospel singing family, to produce Dreams. “I first met him when I directed his music video, but during that entire shoot, from pre-production through post, I never once thought of him as an artist. The entire time he was producing the video, he was a natural producer.”
“Dreams” is Marvin’s first film, but Marvin is no stranger to the entertainment industry. “I have been in and around entertainment my entire life. I’ve always wanted to produce films, and I knew after creating…“You Never Let Me Down” with Joel and I would work together again.”
About twelve years ago, a young man named Brandon, a close friend of Kapity’s, went through a very tragic experience. This experience impassioned Kapity to tell his story. “This movie has been ten years in the making. I have sort of lived this movie. Telling Brandon’s story sort of became my as well as Marchello’s dream [who plays Quentin in the film] and together we would not let anything stop it from coming to past,” Kapity proclaims. This passion pushed Kapity passed the negativity and the doubt that it would ever come to fruition. “I must say I had times where I questioned myself. ‘Was it really worth all of the time away from my family?’ ‘Should I really be doing this?’ But I couldn’t stop. It was a part of my destiny to make this film.”
Marvin, who served as not only producer, but also composer, felt he might have been in over his head at the beginning of shooting. “Shooting this film was a task I was both prepared and not prepared for. I knew I had what it took to do a good job, but the actual work was more than I expected. It was like shooting a music video twenty-four days straight,” Marvin recalls. The film, which was shot in 2010 between November 29and December, during one of Chicago’s coldest winters, was tough on Winans. “It was cold! I mean really cold. It was ‘Why are we doing this?’ cold. Joel’s certainty and determination kept everyone on track. He was our leader and we were not going to quit, knowing how much Joel had vested in this project.” Apostle H. Daniel Wilson, visionary of Valley Kingdom Ministries, said, “When I was introduced to the movie “Dreams” two years ago, I was captured by the story, as well as, the characters. “Dreams” is about life, success and failure, victories and defeats, trials and triumphs, and yet in the end, it’s our dreams that make life real. “Dreams”, will strike a chord with all viewers [spiritually, and] because we can all identify with one of the four characters. The message of the movie is life can be victorious if we never lose our dreams.”
Newcomer Actress Syesha Mercado (American Idol Finalist), plays the role of “Mia,” an aspiring singer who is trapped by memories of defeat and worthlessness as a little girl fights to escape these chilling moments of her past. For Mercado, this story came close to home. Syesha explains, “I found a lot of similarities in “Mia”. She had this talent, but she was afraid to use it, because her past and experiences held her back. There were times in my life where I was my worst enemy. You can have this talent, but you don’t believe in yourself, because something was told to you when you were younger…fear can sometimes be our worst enemy.” She adds, “I loved the story of dreams, because it dealt with a few taboo subjects that some families don’t talk about.” Dreams deals with several different stories stemming from the heart of the city, one of them is about “Alonzo,” a young male rapper, played by real life rapper, Jason Watson. Just released from prison, “Alonzo” must return to the streets and attempt to maintain his decision to keep the straight and narrow.
“This story was very close to my own life,” Jason explains. “I’ve been there. I was in prison; I made a decision to not go back to what got me in there. In a lot of ways I am Alonzo. It was so real and close to whom I really was as a person.” Further propelled by a stellar ensemble cast which also includes well-known and acclaimed actors Geoffrey Owens, Lou Myers, Llou Johnson, and Jazsmin Lewis; and, outstanding new comers, Ghanaian, Joseph Awinongya, and Deleon Sheffield, “Dreams” is a movie everyone should see.
“I knew what I was getting into when I decided to do this film,” Kapity contends. While “Dreams” is not overly graphic, it deals with provocative subjects, including, child molestation, suicide and rape filled with seat gripping moments. However, “[t]he “The dance scenes are amazing,” Winans asserts. “I truly haven’t seen anything like what Joel was able to capture in Dreams,” Marvin closes. “Joel tells a story about people who don’t have these big voices but have immense demons and does so while keeping it clean and faith-friendly,” he concludes.
Dreams is a movie for anyone who doesn’t have the perfect life. The producers feel that the film will draw out anyone with soiled memories, big hopes and dreams within reach.
ABOUT DREAMS Is a Dreams On Screen/Kingdom Entertainment Group/ M2 Entertainment Film about human frailty and resilience is tested in this dramatic tale of four dreamers. Quentin, Mia, Paalo and Alonzo, all have dreams of life free from the bonds of their past. Whether pursuing happiness through dancing, singing, or reuniting their broken families, fragments of abuse and failures from their past make the trek up life’s hills hard to climb. Set in an urban metropolitan, Chicago area, four different stories are weaved together in an unexpected manner. With notorious criminal and king of the hill, Donte, lurking in the shadows, what will become of our dreamers? Will they be impeded by life’s difficulties or use their obstacles as important steps to achieving their dreams?
Propelled by a stellar ensemble cast that includes well-known and acclaimed actors Geoffrey Owens, Tommy Ford, Terri J. Vaughn, Lou Myers, Llou Johnson, Jazsmin Lewis and Mel Jackson and outstanding new comers, Syesha Mercado, Marcello Lee, Jason “J’son” Watson, Marvin Winans Jr., Ghanaian, Joseph Awinongya, Vickie Winans and Deleon Sheffield. Superb, visionary director/producer, Joel Kapity’s second feature is a brilliant meld of provocative content and creative artistry, marrying pangs and promise together beautifully in a way that benefits everyone.
ABOUT Joel Kapity Joel Kapity of Dreams On Screen Productions created his successful track record by honing his skills in producing and directing music videos while simultaneously producing live events for Fortune 500 companies in the corporate world and producing faith based projects around the country. He projects include award nominated and winning videos with Deitrick Haddon’s, “I Need Your Help” and Marvin Winans’ Jr. “You Never Let Me Down.” As a first time feature film director, Joel’s successful skill set produced and directed a high quality film, “Blessed & Cursed” setting the bar for what a faith based film should look like while generating favorable cable television ratings on GMC cable network. To continue his success story he created a new and compelling film DREAMS under his production company Dreams On Screen.