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ANTWONE FISHER

About The Production
After 11 years of service in the U.S. Navy and a three-year stint as a federal correction officer, Antwone Fisher became a security guard at the Sony Pictures Entertainment lot in Los Angeles. He describes, "Working at Sony gave me a place to rest, to gather myself. I was becoming very lonely without the Navy family I had created and I began reflecting on my life. The laid-back work environment made for less distractions and I began thinking of my childhood and eventually decided that I should try to find my biological family."

Fisher found relatives on his father's side who gave him an airplane ticket to spend Thanksgiving with them in Cleveland, but since he was only two months into the job, he had to tell his supervisor the whole story in order to get the time off. Little did he know that his story would have such impact that upon his return he would be approached to bring his story to film.

Producer Todd Black first learned of Fisher's heart-wrenching story from his former college roommate Chris Smith. Committed to giving something back to the community after the devastating riots of 1992, Smith taught a free screenwriting class at the A.M.E. church in South Central Los Angeles. Fisher signed up for the class after learning about it from a friend. Smith taught Fisher the elements of screenplay development and introduced him to Black.

Black was so moved by Fisher's story and so committed to helping him tell it, that he took Fisher under his wing. Fisher still finds that to be one of the biggest miracles of all. " I don't know why Todd decided to take a chance on me—I wasn't a member of his community or anything—I was just this guy who came to his office. At the time I couldn't type; I typed with two fingers. But I didn't want to let Todd down since nobody else believed in me. He offered me an opportunity to do something better for myself."

Black remembers, "It was an incredible story of survival and strength. So, the minute the studio said to me, ‘no, he can't write it,' it was not even a question to me. If I had to mortgage my house to give him the money to write it, I would have, because I knew in my heart that he could do it."

Black reveals, "We worked for one year and went through draft after draft after draft - even as Antwone was still discovering parts of his life, including meeting his mother for the first time." Black credits the discipline that Fisher learned in the Navy with helping him to get through the exhaustive process of writing and re-writing. "Ultimately, a year later, the president of Fox called and said ‘You were right; he can write.' So he bought it and Antwone, in addition to going through the cathartic process of putting his life on paper, made more money selling it as a completed screenplay than he would have as a pitch."

Black concludes, "One of the things I've really admired about Antwone is that he just wanted to make sure that this story was told for all of us, to understand the levels of abuse and learn how to break the cycle, break the pattern...A lot of people told Antwone that he couldn't do it and they could not get it in their heads that this wonderful, innocent kid wanted to write his own life story. I knew in my heart that he could do it..."

Fisher remembers, "Writing the screenplay was like a healing. It took me a long time to get myself together and a lot of people - strangers - encouraged me. It helped t

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