Alrick Brown (director of the award-winning Kinyarwanda, released by AFFRM last fall) is set to direct an adaptation of J.M. Benjamin’s 2007 novel My Manz and ‘Em.

The novel centers on…

… a Plainfield man sucked into a life of crime before undergoing a life-changing epiphany during and after a prison sentence.

Plainfield as in Plainfield, New Jersey.

As for what we can expect, especially for those who aren’t familiar with the book, Benjamin, who previously did time in prison for drug trafficking, racketeering, conspiracy and more, before becoming an author, states This is the (prototypical) urban fiction, street lit book… But this isn’t an urban fiction, street lit film.” 

His own past experiences inform his work, adding that the film will tackle idea that, as notes, “it’s all but inevitable for young, black men growing up in rough parts of rough towns to fall victim to “the game,” as gang and drug dealings are referred to repeatedly in The Wire and other forms of media portraying life in urban America.

Benjamin is tired of hearing/singing that song, adding, “You always have a choice.

Alrick Brown agreed, previously stating, “We’re going to give them (the audience) more than they would ever expect from the movie.

This will be an indie production, just like Kinyarwanda was for Brown, but he’s up for the challenge, saying, “This is a risk, career-wise… I’m taking the path not chosen by bypassing Hollywood … but if I’m gambling, I’m going to bet on this team.

And with that, Brown has launched a Kickstarter campaign to raise $60,000 to help shoot 10 minutes of the feature film, which will then be used to independently raise the film’s full budget of $1 million.

It’s a 30-day campaign, and thus far, the campaign has raised just over $9,200 (as of the time of this post), with 13 days to go. So it’s a long way from reaching its goal, but certainly not impossible – especially if you contribute. 

This is the kinds of crowdfunding campaign that I wish would receive much more press and general public awareness (and of course dollars), instead of the celebrity campaigns. So chip in if you can; especially if you gave to one of the handful of successful celebrity campaigns launched this year.

Watch Alrick’s video pitch below; and make your contribution HERE, or click within the widget below.