Many people only know what it’s like to have a drug problem if they’ve seen it up close. However, marketing junior Raheem Allen wants to use film to show the world how the opioid crisis affects a community.
Allen is an entertainer, producer and writer. Besides being busy with his music group, The Graduates, he has taken on the role as the director of the new film “Only The Good,” which tells the story of a young man named Jason who starts to experience problems with his girlfriend, friends and even his visiting sister because of the negative effects of opioids.
“The film takes place in one day, and it’s on that day which everything just climaxes and hits him in the face,” Allen said. “The problems he has in life just start accumulating in this one day, and it starts to not go too well for him.”
Allen said the mission of the film is to bring awareness to the opioid problem Americans are currently facing. Allen and the rest of the crew want to make a difference in their own way.
“Opioids are a big deal, especially in college,” Allen said. “My writer and producer, Symmes Culbertson, had this whole idea from the beginning.”
Culbertson is a senior in the film and media arts program, and he wanted to raise awareness of this issue, which is affecting people every day. Allen said the film is also for the non-profit organization National Coalition Against Prescription Drug Abuse.
“We’re tired of seeing PSAs always having such a strong agenda against drugs,” Allen said. “But to be honest, those things aren’t going to stop people from doing drugs, and we wanted to take a different approach.”
Allen said he finds a way to balance school and the film project on an equal scale. The film takes up most of his free time, but he loves working on this new project.
“This is a huge time commitment – two-thirds of my week is involving this film, but I got lucky because my classes were light this semester,” Allen said. “Some nights I go to 2 a.m. working, and I try to spend my days working on homework to get it out the way as quickly as possible because this business is very demanding.”
Allen works with the crew, Culbertson and his professor Glen Pitre. Pitre has worked on films and projects on networks like HBO and Lifetime, and Allen said he appreciates all he’s doing to help expand his directing skills.
“He trusts me to put on this project and expand my vision,” Allen said. “I’m always on my A-game, and I’m always working. This is not a 9-5 job. This industry is very cut-throat. Even though this is a class, my professor treats this as if we’re in the real world.”
Allen said it’s important to recognize the 30 people he works with on the film.
“A lot of people think a movie is just the director. Well it’s not,” Allen said. “It may be my vision, but the crew adds things I never thought of and they help expand on my vision. It’s a collaborative project. It’s not just my film. It’s the whole crew’s film.”
The film is expected to premiere fall 2018. Allen said his goal is to create a film the audience can either relate to or learn from.
“I want them to experience something maybe they don’t experience every day,” Allen said. “There are thousands of people on this campus, and every person has a different story of how they experience college.”
Allen said he will stay committed to the film no matter what obstacles he may face.
“I love it. I eat, sleep, breathe film,” Allen said. “This is a great opportunity for me because my time is being used wisely. It’s tough in some areas, but if I’m really pushing for it, I’m OK with it.”