Photo courtesy of bahamiansonmovie.com
Reggie Henderson in the "Bahamian Son" movie
Reggie Henderson travels to the Bahamas to reconnect with his estranged father in Bahamian Son, available for digital streaming now.
“We wrapped filming in 2011,” Soul Tools Entertainment founder Reggie Henderson says apologetically. “We told ourselves we were going to take a few months off before editing, but unfortunately in December 2011, I had a house fire and lost my house and my dog. [It was] just a terrible experience. So literally I didn’t touch it for two years.”
On the phone from his now-rebuilt Bloomington home, Henderson is talking about Bahamian Son, the feature film he wrote, produced, and starred in. Inspired by his own life, Bahamian Son, which premiered in October, is the story of a divorced dad who finally finds and reconnects with the father who abandoned him and his mother when he was 6 and went on to live an idealized life in the Bahamas.
Filmed in the Bahamas and Minneapolis with a primarily MSP-based crew that included director Andrew Melby (now in L.A.) and starring Soul Tool’s marquee hip-hop artist Toki Wright, the movie also features high-production flashback scenes to the protagonist’s childhood in Minneapolis’s one-time Olson Memorial Projects (Henderson’s own childhood home). Bahamian Son also managed to defy conventional wisdom about how much a feature-length film costs. Through a combination of private investments and a Minnesota Legacy Fund grant, the film wrapped at only $95K.
“And the only reason it cost that much was the trip to the Bahamas,” Henderson quips. “If the whole story took place here, we probably could’ve done it for 30 percent of that. . . . I just wanted people to see the honest story in it.”
And that seems to be exactly what people are seeing. On his radio show, film critic Jeffrey Lyons, who presented the film at the 2013 Bahamas International Film Festival, called it a “poignant, touching story with some of the best no-frills acting you’re likely to see. It’s warm, honest, and heartfelt.”
More remarkable is what Lyons said to Henderson in passing: “[He] was like, ‘How the hell did you pull this off? What was your budget? Were there flaws?’ Yeah, I could point them out all day, but the story was very, very heartfelt.
“I hope it can propel us to doing some next-level things,” Henderson adds. “You know, if I can do all this for under $100K, imagine if you give an actual budget that we can sink our teeth into.”
As for what exactly that might be, Henderson has already filmed a teaser for a 1930s gangster series, Government Gang, set in the Twin Cities that’s “like Boardwalk Empire, only grittier.” If things go according to plan, the series will be where Henderson and his state really make their mark. “The three things people know about Minnesota are snow, the Mall of America, and Prince. My mission is to let people know there’s more than that. I’ve always been proud to claim where I’m from.”
Watch the trailer of Bahamian Son here.