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Out of Bounds (2019 film)

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Out of Bounds
Out of Bounds Poster.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed bySD Green
Produced bySD Green
Shalonda SJ Johnson
Written bySD Green
  • Deyonte 'Tatted' Hunter
  • Tenichi Garner
  • Shalonda SJ Johnson
  • Richard Siegelman
  • Maurin Penn
  • Ricky D. Smith
  • Derek Seals
  • Eric 'E-Gotti' Johnson
Music byHelluva
CinematographyJason Thibodeaux
Edited byCJ Jones
Cornelius Pridgen
TMG Film Group
Flash Productions
Release date
January 24, 2019
(Malco Cordova Cinema)
Running time
82 minutes
CountryUnited States

Out of Bounds is a 2019 American drama feature film written, produced, and directed by SD Green. The film stars newcomer Deyonte 'Tatted' Hunter in his debut role. It tells the story of Travis Elliot, a star high school basketball player faced with the life-changing decision of following his dreams or helping his incarcerated older brother. Dealt the immeasurable odds of surviving the dangerous Memphis, Tennessee streets, his plan is to get in and out of the drug game unscathed. The decision between the two has far-reaching consequences and Travis ends up playing a deadly game of tug of war.[1] It co-stars Tenichi Garner, Shalonda SJ Johnson, Richard Siegelman, Maurin Penn, Ricky D. Smith, Derek Seals, and Eric 'E-Gotti' Johnson.

Plot[edit | edit source]

On the cusp of graduation, Travis Elliot has dreams of taking his basketball career beyond his Memphis high school to college and eventually to the pros. Unfortunately, as circumstances begin to disrupt life as he knows it, he's fleeing a nightmare instead of chasing his dreams.

Cast[edit | edit source]

  • Deyonte 'Tatted' Hunter as Travis Elliot: The protagonist of the story. He is the younger brother of Rico and son of Brenda. A talented star high school basketball player who dreams of playing the game at the collegiate and professional levels. He is caught between his familial obligations and future aspirations, so helping Rico get released from jail begins to take precedence.
  • Tenichi Garner as Rico Elliot: The older brother of Travis, son of Brenda, and a former star high school basketball player. Sadly, playing basketball was no longer a priority after his father was tragically killed and he became the provider for his family. The fast money from dealing drugs lured him away from the game. He understands Travis’ dream to play professional basketball more than anyone else and doesn't want him following his example.
  • Shalonda SJ Johnson as Naomi Farsee: Travis' older girlfriend and biggest supporter. Life experiences have taught her the importance of holding onto your dreams. Being the case, she tries her best to keep Travis focused on playing basketball and graduating high school.
  • Richard Siegelman as Priest Diaz: A man of God and someone whom Travis confesses his deepest and darkest secrets.
  • Maurin Penn as Agent Franklin Parker: A straightforward and determined investigator who has both Rico and Travis in his crosshairs.
  • Ricky D. Smith as Money Mo': The main antagonist of the story and Travis’ worst nightmare. He is the most ruthless drug dealer of the city and supplier of Rico and Travis.
  • Derek Seals as Don: Travis' best friend. He is loyal to a fault and willing to follow Travis down whichever path he chooses despite the ramifications.
  • Eric 'E-Gotti' Johnson as Murda: Rico's closest childhood friend and captain of his drug operation. In Rico's absence and at his direction, he steps in to aid Travis in his newfound role. He appears to be helpful, however, his ulterior motives may end up being a detriment to the entire Elliot family.
  • Shi Smith as Brenda Elliot: The widowed mother of Rico and Travis. She turned to drugs to cope with the loss of her murdered husband and pressures of being a single-mother.
  • Jessica Valentine as Eva Torres: Travis' friend and mother of Pedro. As a result of having a difficult life she is driven to make decisions that put both herself and her family at risk.
  • BJ McClain as Pedro Torres: Eva's young son.
  • Giovonni Loso as Eva’s brother: The older sibling of Eva and uncle of Pedro. Being parentless has forced him to support his loved ones by any means.
  • Jalen Moffit as Rob: The co-captain of Travis' high school basketball team. He and Travis sometimes bump heads because of Travis' selfish gameplay.
  • Denisha 'Cookie' Bonner as TT: Naomi's best friend and one of the few people that know the secrets she hides.
  • Joshua Graham as Kevin Myers aka Kev: Rico's childhood friend and first lieutenant of his drug operation.
  • Taz Polito as James Bernard aka Jay: Rico's childhood friend and second lieutenant of his drug operation.
  • Caleb Whiting as Ronnie: Rico's childhood friend and manager of his drug operation.
  • Ketrick 'Jazz' Copeland as Mr. Dixon: Naomi's boss who sees his position of power as the perfect advantage to exploit her.
  • Bren Ransom as Coach: Travis' mentor and basketball coach. Having also coached Rico, he knows the obstacles that Travis faces and uses tough love in an attempt to keep him on the right path.

Production[edit | edit source]

Development[edit | edit source]

Out of Bounds is an independent film written, produced, and directed by SD Green, an American film director, producer, writer, and filmmaker. Filming in Memphis, Tennessee was important to Green.[2] The city was selected to serve as the backdrop of the story for the air of realism that would complement the film. And the opportunity to showcase the fresh new faces of talent. According to Maurin Penn, who plays Agent Franklin Parker, “The film represents Memphis in many different ways through certain characters. It represents the parts of Memphis that people don’t like to talk about, but shines a light that needs to be seen.”[3]

Casting[edit | edit source]

Lead actor Deyonte 'Tatted' Hunter originally auditioned for a supporting role in which he was briefly cast. However, upon recognizing Hunter's raw talent and similarities to the character, Green awarded him the role of Travis.

Shalonda SJ Johnson brought great gravitas to the role of Naomi when she read for the part. She was cast for her ability to emote, improvise, and express natural reactions. The scene where Travis is enraged about a previous sexual relationship between Naomi and Money Mo' was conceived a moment before shooting to highlight her emotional range.

Tenichi Garner was cast based upon his natural acting skills and personal connection with the character. The parallel was due in part to his experience of serving 16 consecutive years in prison before being released in 2014. This gave sincerity and credibility to Garner that no other actor could offer. For the role of Rico, Garner was able to pull from his own life experiences.[4]

Richard Siegelman was found to be most suitable for the role of Priest Diaz because of the calming nature of his voice. His speaking tone was believable as one that could provide comfort to those who needed to unburden their souls.

Filming[edit | edit source]

The film was shot predominately in Memphis, Tennessee during the summer months of May and June. Principal photography began on May 27, 2018, in Memphis, Tennessee and continued for two weeks, before moving to Olive Branch, Mississippi, and Senatobia, Mississippi for an additional week.

All of the interior and exterior locations are authentic Memphis, Olive Branch, and Senatobia churches, residences, and businesses.

Though a fictional account, the actors’ portrayals of the characters were galvanized by the unfortunate real-life state of affairs of many impoverished African American and Latino men, women, and children. Shalonda SJ Johnson propelled her characterization of Naomi forward by tapping into her realization that far too many people of color are imprisoned or had their lives cut short. She can appreciate that Naomi only wants the best for Travis and for this reason she pushes him in the right direction. "She doesn’t want him to fall victim to the streets,” Johnson told Memphis Flyer. “She’s kind of bull-headed about him continuing his career and education,” Johnson concluded.[5]

Like Johnson, Tenichi Garner found parallels between his character and himself. “Rico is somebody that didn't want to be in the streets, but unfortunately that's what he felt was his only choice at the time,” Garner explained to The Jackson Sun. “It was his goal to kind of get in and out, but there's really no such thing as easy money.”[6]

Reception[edit | edit source]

Screenings[edit | edit source]

Out of Bounds made its premiere to a sold-out crowd at a Malco Theatres in Cordova, Tennessee on January 24, 2019.

Critical Response[edit | edit source]

On IMDb the film has earned an average rating of 8.4/10.[7]

Richard Caldwell of IMN and contributing writer for AllHipHop gave the film a 4.5/5 and highlighted the film’s ability to conceptualize the relationship between decision-making and consequences, writing, “Out of Bounds is a film that touches on karma and its many effects. Overall I enjoyed this film and believe it is one worth watching for teenagers who may be facing a difficult time in their life. Karma is universal, real and you shouldn’t be surprised if you receive the same energy you put out into the world.”[8]

References[edit | edit source]

  1. Gordon, Janeen (January 28, 2019). "Bluff City Life - Jan. 28 (Pt. 4 of 4)". WMC Action News 5 - Memphis. Retrieved February 15, 2019.
  2. Davis, Jesse (January 16, 2019). "Street Ball: Memphis and Manhattan filmmakers team up to premiere independent film Out of Bounds". Memphis Flyer. Retrieved February 10, 2019.
  3. Bakken, Bob (March 14, 2019). "Casting call". DeSoto Times-Tribune. Retrieved March 14, 2019.
  4. Stephenson, Cassandra (March 4, 2019). "Jackson actor talks incarceration, moving forward and his latest role in 'Out of Bounds'". Jackson Sun. Retrieved March 4, 2019.
  5. Davis, Jesse (January 16, 2019). "Street Ball: Memphis and Manhattan filmmakers team up to premiere independent film Out of Bounds". Memphis Flyer. Retrieved February 10, 2019.
  6. Stephenson, Cassandra (March 4, 2019). "Jackson actor talks incarceration, moving forward and his latest role in 'Out of Bounds'". Jackson Sun. Retrieved March 4, 2019.
  7. "Out of Bounds". IMDb. August 2, 2019. Retrieved August 2, 2019.
  8. Caldwell, Richard (July 31, 2019). "Karma, Judgement and Decisions Run the Streets In Out of Bounds". IMN. Retrieved August 2, 2019.

External links[edit | edit source]

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