I wanted to do a Q&A wit’ the writer of the screenplay for the film so the reader can get a glimpse into the mind of the creator of one of this year’s favorite films in the local festival circuit. Check out Arthur Walls in his own words.The film written by Arthur Walls, “A Hundred Blocks,” was sold out at the Oakland International Film Festival screening a few weeks ago, with some of Oakland’s top athletes in attendance, including boxing champion Andre Ward and the legendary running back and newly signed Raider Marshawn Lynch. It will be screened next at the San Francisco Black Film Festival, on the second week of June, and I don’t expect anything less in turnout. So keep your eyes on the website, SFBFF.org, to see when the schedule comes out and the tickets go on sale.
M.O.I. JR: How and when did you come up with the concept for the film “A Hundred Blocks”?
Art Walls: I began writing “A Hundred Blocks” after the death of my little brother in 2010. Although I didn’t have it completed or a name for the movie, I was writing most of the stories we envisioned then.
M.O.I. JR: Where did the name come from?
Art Walls: I got the name from watching Channel 2 News one night and saw the city of Oakland’s mayor having a town hall meeting about a supposed plan to help the violence that’s been going on in Oakland and it was called 100 Blocks Plan. It was so fitting for the movie I was writing that I adopted it and changed up the spelling, actually just spelling out 100.
M.O.I. JR: How long did it take to write the script? Produce the film?
Art Walls: Like I said I began in 2010, but I put it down ‘cause too much was going on around that time, so I took all my notes and started again in May 2012. It took about a week or two to have it in script form, another few months to have it film-ready to shoot. Filming it took us 21 days.
M.O.I. JR: How did you pick who you wanted to work with behind the scenes?
Art Walls: Me and the director were introduced around 2011 and he had a friend that’s good with cameras so we hooked up and did the project.
M.O.I. JR: How did you get Marshawn Lynch involved with executive producing your film?
Art Walls: Marshawn Lynch was brought on the team through his family member who’s an actor in the film.
M.O.I. JR: How does it feel to have your film officially selected to be in the Oakland International Film Festival and the San Francisco Black Film Festival in the same year? What does it mean to you as a writer?
Art Walls: It’s an honor for one; I feel very blessed and amazed at the same time. To do that on your first project out says a lot and motivates me to strive higher. This is only the beginning.
M.O.I. JR: What’s next on the horizon for you?
Art Walls: Well, I have a lot of scripts I’ve written over the years and I want to dig one out and get into production.
M.O.I. JR: How could people stay up with “A Hundred Blocks” and where it will be screening?
Art Walls: As of right now we’re in the process of negotiating a distribution deal so keep ya eyes and ears open; it’ll be out real soon.
‘A Hundred Blocks’
“In a city where dreams become nightmares, Jaleel finally has enough cash saved up to leave Oakland and avoid the violent fate of his father, along with so many of his peers. When a friend promises to triple those savings, Jaleel goes against his better judgment and says yes. The added money will let Jaleel realize his goal of opening a gym in the new town – a dream inspired by his father. Things change when the friend gets into an unexpected altercation with the police in which he and four officers are killed – and Jaleel’s nest egg is lost. The incident ignites chaos, as police and city officials point fingers at one another, and the crime only continues.” – OIFF film synopsis