'The System' addresses concerns about officer-involved shootings from both sides
PHOENIX (KSAZ) - Questionable officer-involved shootings have triggered outrage from coast to coast, especially if it involves racial tensions between police and minorities.
A new movie tries to address those concerns. "The System" is about a deadly confrontation between a troubled police officer and a deaf black youngster, told from both sides.
"The family has a deaf child and the child is shot by an officer," said Iroc Daniels, the film's writer and director.
This isn't real life, but it could be. A police officer tormented by his past shoots and kills a child playing with a toy gun.
"It's shot from the perspective from an officer and the perspective of a family," explained Daniels, a Phoenix native. "It's been an interesting flight to say the least."
But this is a movie in a time filled with police violence. Daniels wrote the movie in New York three years ago.
"It was just really loud in my head and when something is loud, it gets louder and louder until you get it out," he said.
Daniels, who started out as a local audio technician and instructor, shot the film in Phoenix, although the city is never mentioned by name.
"I didn't want this to be associated in one city because I feel like it's an issue reoccurring throughout the whole United States," he said.
But Daniels says anyone who lives here will recognize the scenery.
"Anybody that is in Phoenix will know that this was shot in Phoenix."
The actors are from Arizona too. Prince Deboskie plays the young deaf shooting victim.
"It was like, oh okay, this is going to be a good thing because it's going to expose what is actually happening in the world today," said Deboskie.
Reginald Kennedy is from Tucson. He plays the victim's father.
"When I read the script, it was so close to home, it was scary at first."
But Daniels says you shouldn't think of this as a one-sided anti-police film.
"This film is definitely not anti-police. I show police in a good light, but there's one officer who has a particular problem."
He says "The System" is told from the perspectives of both sides.
"Police are human and they can have bad days and that bad day could affect someone," said Daniels. "I show things that people don't think about and it's not shown on the news. Like the fact that the family has to pick out a casket and figure out what casket they are going to bury their kid in... the ultimate ideal and premise of the film is empathy.. just being able to empathize with people I think would be the one thing I would want you to take to the film."
Something the actors believe in too.
"They are going to be surprised that this is oh, really insightful, it's not just a one-sided view," said Kennedy.
Deboskie added, "This could happen at anytime to anybody."
"I tell people it's impossible for you to watch 'The System' and not have a 30 minute conversation.. you are going to have a conversation about something," said Daniels.
Daniels is also releasing a hip-hop album as a companion to the movie, called "Don't Listen."
The movie will be shown at film festivals across the country.