Whether Hollywood or the major studios are paying attention, Black cinema is definitely alive! Miles From Home is a film unlike any you’ve seen before. Five years ago filmmaker Ty Hodges took the wrong bus one night and found himself walking around in downtown Los Angeles. What he discovered was an underworld that would change his life and the way he viewed life living on the streets. Now, after being delayed due to studio bigwigs and Hollywood politics, his story is finally going to see the light of day.
With a father he never knew, a mother strung out on crack, and a drug dealing older brother, Miles Conway is a young teenager that finds himself homeless with no money, no family who can help him, and nowhere to go. One night while walking the streets of downtown L.A., he runs into a young flamboyant prostitute named Peaches (Ryan Gill), a man dressed as a woman. After Peaches makes her quota for the night, he takes a shy Miles back to where he calls home: A house made up of runaway kids, who are selling their bodies for drugs to earn money for a relentless madam named Keisha played by Tasha Smith.
Miles is immediately embraced by these lost souls living together in a house where virtually anything goes. The group of youngsters become his new brothers and sisters. Keisha gives Miles some cash and allows him to live in the house under the condition that he goes out in the street and earn a living by selling his body like the others that live in the house under her. Tasha’s portrayal in the film as a female guardian/pimp, managing and disciplining a house of runaway troubled kids, is nothing short of riveting.
Miles begins to get on his feet when he meets a young woman named Natasha, played by Meagan Good. Natasha is unlike anyone Miles has ever met before. She carries a Bible with her at all times and finds a positive outlook on virtually everything that crosses in her path. As the two bond and spend more time together, Natasha transforms Miles and helps him try to deal with his demons, which are always ever so present in his aura and mind. On the outside, it looks as if Natasha has the perfect life, but she is hiding a very dark secret.
Writer/ Director/ Actor Ty Hodges, who grew up in Hollywood as a child actor, starring opposite A-List movie star Shia LaBeouf on the Disney Channels “Even Stevens,” is a talent that is worth paying attention to. Not since a young Jeffery Wright emerged on the scene with his portrayal of Jean Michael Basquiat have we seen a young actor inhabit a character this complex and tormented. What makes Ty talent and performance so noteworthy is the fact that he also directs the film, which he wrote.
Overall, we thought the films directing, story and performances by the cast were top-notch. At a time when Black cinema primarily consists of making buffoonish comedies and gangster films. Just as actor Anthony Mackie recently stated that Black actors and filmmakers were being lazy and uninspiring with their art, Miles From Home pushes the envelope and the art form past the typical status quo.
If we want to see more diverse films about us and staring us in the market place. As moviegoers, we first have to start by supporting and acting like we care to see films different then the all too familiar stories about African Americans that Hollywood continues to recycle. It may be living in hibernation, rarely coming out unbeknownst to the general public, but Black Cinema is definitely alive!
– Datari Turner