Black Hollywood is abuzz with the release of Think Like A Man but there’s another black film helmed by a black director you should see — Life, Love, Soul. Directed by Harlem native and Clark Atlanta University alum Noel Calloway, the independent film stars newcomer Robbie Tate-Brickle as Roosevelt, who loses his happy home when his mother Kimberly, played by Tami Roman of “Basketball Wives,” and baby brother are killed in a car crash. Now Roosevelt must move in with his estranged father Earl, played by Chad Coleman of “The Wire.” While dealing with life’s tragedies, Roosevelt confides in fellow student Kyna and starts to find joy again, until another life altering event forces him to make big decisions before he even graduates from high school.
I checked out Life, Love, Soul on opening night here in New York and I enjoyed the screening. ”Love And Hip Hop” star Yandy Smith, Calloway’s childhood friend, serves as associate producer on film, which also stars Terri J. Vaughn and Coleman as strong, emotional parents of teens who fall madly in love. The roles of radio personality Egypt Sherrod as a concerned aunt and Jamie Hector, also of “The Wire,” as Roosevelt’s high school teacher were small yet impactful as important touchstones in Roosevelt’s life.
Released on April 13 in seven theaters across America including Los Angeles, Atlanta and New York, Life, Love, Soul ran through April 19 but New Yorkers have one more week to catch the film at the AMC Empire 25 in Times Square. Movie goers can purchase tickets for shows here and check out the film’s website.
Recently, on a breezy night in New York, while cradling his sleeping young daughter, Life, Love, Soul director Calloway and the film’s cast spoke with Parlour about the independent movie’s wins and losses.
Parlour: Noel, you are blessed to have such an all-star cast for your first film, yet you had some pitstops along the way funding the film, which made it take four years to finally complete. For established actors like Terri J. Vaughn and Jamie Hector, what made you two stay committed to this film?
Terri J. Vaughn: Once I say yes, I’m all in. I love what I do, to be able to bring this character to life brings me goose bumps.
Jamie Hector: It starts with the screenplay and what [Calloway] wrote, then you get a chance to speak with Noel. He is very articulate and passionate about what he does behind the scenes.
Chad Coleman: There was amazing content on that page, it’s a love song for the community — [especially when] so many people complain about the integrity they don’t see on screen with African American characters.
Noel, how important are positive depictions of African Americans to you as an up and coming black director?
Noel: We have a myriad of voices in our community and when you take on such a powerful vehicle like film and make that voice singular — with one or two or three black filmmakers — it takes away from the story. Our stories are diverse, we come from different backgrounds and circumstances so more voices only creates a more accurate reflection of our culture. The ‘Support black films’ movement is very important but it’s also important to make good black films because we can’t spoon feed people nonsense and expect them to support it.
Egypt, now that you’ve done this film, do you have the acting bug?
Egypt Sherrod: I’ve always had the acting bug. I started at New York University Tisch School of the Arts for theatre, then my family didn’t have the money for me to continue. But God is amazing because my life is coming full circle, I worked on Life, Love, Soul then other opportunities came.
Robbie, as the star, what is your takeaway from Love, Life, Soul?
Robbie: Regardless of what you go through in life, as long as you stay positive and have people who believe in you and grind in your craft, you will achieve your goals. This movie will show that.
Check out the Love, Life, Soul trailer below: