For New York native Abdu Dandridge, who now calls Phoenix home, growing up was fun, but it was also dangerous. "I've buried a lot of friends," said Dandridge as he talked about his life in Brooklyn.
He hopes his film "Pressure" will show youth how to handle pressure and keep them from making some of the wrong choices some of his friends made, so they can live the long life they were supposed live.
For an independent filmmaker, following his dreams life is full of sacrifices and challenges.
"I don't have any rich uncles or cousins. I have to work hard for everything and sacrifice a lot to make this work.," says Dandridge in fulfilling his purpose in life. With a family to support it makes even more challenging.
But the owner of the independent film production studio, Pressure Entertainment, he knows you have to believe in your dream fully and not be deterred by mountains and potholes on the journey. Even Steven Spielberg, George Lucas and Spike Lee had challenges to overcome during their genesis in filmmaking.
"I've been in the film making business for over 19 years and have won "Best Music Video of The Year" at the 2010 South Carolina music awards," he said. As the writer, producer and director of his new film he is all in; completely encased in it.
His film Pressure is about a young person who learns life lessons from a dream. It is a coming of age story about five teenagers growing up in Harlem, New York during the 1980's. (It's the beginning of the hip-hop generation, which also is the "growing up alongside of the crack-cocaine generation.") The main character Karon finds himself face to face with many challenges and decisions.
"The film is geared toward adolescents making the right choices in life. Harkins Theatres is supporting the film and giving me a chance to spread the positive message in the film and its moral values."
"I'm trying to teach our young generation that life is all about making the right choices. And making the wrong ones can lead to your demise," Dandridge says.
"This film is a conscious and positive film with morals that speak the truth of the streets and on the level of all our young adolescents around the world today. All families who have lost loved ones to the street will relate."
Earl Smith, an assistant to Spike Lee and his 40 Acres and a Mule FilmWorks, says in an endorsement letter, "On behalf of 40 Acres and a Mule FilmWorks, I strongly recommend this film to any moviegoer. It's a touching story that tells the truth and can also save lives if you truly believe your destiny lies within your own hands."
The movie is scheduled to open April 27 if he has enough pre-sales at Harkin's Theatres in Arizona Mills, Metro Center, Superstition Springs 25, Tucson Spectrum 18, Northfield 18 in Denver, Colorado and Moreno Valley 16 in Moreno Valley, California.
Tickets for Pressure can be purchased by visiting the Coming Soon section of harkinstheatres.com.
When asked about what he hopes people get from the film, Dandridge noted, "I want viewers to appreciate it of course. But more importantly I want them to receive the message of this film and understand that life is all about making a choice. Making the right choices."
You can connect with Dandridge on Facebook under Pressure Entertainment. Visit pressureentertainment.com to find out if/when the film is coming to Washington , D.C., Maryland or Virginia.