FAMU alumnus producing short film, seeking local talent

Will Packer, Kelsey Scott and Anika Noni Rose are all Rattlers who made their marks in Hollywood. Jadaun Sweet is attempting to follow in their footsteps.

Packer produced the movie “Ride Along,” Scott was the leading lady in the Golden Globe-winning film “12 Years a Slave” and Rose was the voice of Disney’s first black princess in “The Princess and the Frog.”

Sweet, however, is starting to make his mark by producing a short film, “Chain Music.”

Sweet is a 2012 broadcast journalism graduate from Murfreesboro, Tenn. He is also a recipient of the Courtney Simms Visionary Award, an award based on merit in journalism that is allotted to five students of high achievement at Florida A&M.

Sweet also won a first place Associated Press award for videography for a documentary he and FAMU alumna Kristen Holloway produced called “Burden of the Banner.” It was based on homeless veterans in North Florida.

Sherwood Brown, music producer for “Chain Music,” said Sweet’s work ethic seems effortless.

“I admire his work ethic and the fact that we’re able to accomplish a lot and optimize the resources around us,” Brown said.

Brown said it doesn’t seem like work when they’re working on the documentary. Although they have been working for hours, he said, it feels as though they’ve only been working for 30 to 40 minutes.

“It’s not like a regular 9-to-5 job,” Brown said.

“Chain Music” is about the idea of a 1981 William Lynch coming up with a new tool to oppress the minds of the masses to gain revenue: hip-hop.

Sweet is using the documentary to convey a message of the victim mentality some African-Americans hold and to empower them. He wants them to rise above the mindset that keeps them in mental bondage.

“The reason why I’m coming up with this movie is because [it] correlates a lot with what I see – my life, pretty much,” said Sweet, who grew up in Chicago and witnessed many people with different mindsets that couldn’t be overcome.

Sweet said the victim mentality is everywhere.

“I lived in Tennessee as well, and it’s there,” Sweet said. “I came to Florida, and it’s here. I want people to be aware of how things can work.

“For example, slavery: the whole concept behind it and how they came up with it. You know, a lot of people don’t even know anything about the William Lynch letter.

According to the Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis, Lynch was a plantation owner who delivered a speech in Virginia to inform other slave owners how to control their slaves.

Various documents state the term “lynching” derived from his name.

However, the method Lynch used and promoted to control slaves was to turn them against one another by exploiting differences such as age and skin color.

Jabari Payne, a recent FAMU graduate and crew member, said this documentary tells an awesome story that the current generation needs to hear.

“It’s an effortless comparison to physical slavery and mental slavery,” Payne said. “Music is what brings us together, and this film not only does that, but it also recreates conversations about hip-hop, African-American people and the age-old sellout dispute.”

Sweet said he is striving not to solely focus the film on black race. To bring the film to life, Sweet said, he is looking for extraordinary talent – actors, graphic designers, public relations representatives, costume designers and more.

“This is the goal I wrote down initially,” Sweet said. “It’s to give those who have talent on campus or in Tallahassee an opportunity to display what they have.”

He also plans to obtain a license for his production company, No Rules Production. The short film will be produced by Playground Productions, which is owned by Christopher Martin from the former rap group Kid ‘n Play.

The film is projected to run 15 to 20 minutes and will premiere at the IMAX Theater in Tallahassee this spring.