News Column

'Island Song' Premieres Wednesday On St. Thomas [Virgin Islands Daily News, The]

July 30, 2013

YellowBrix

Seven years ago, casting for "Island Song" - an independent movie filmed in the territory - was held and Wednesday, Virgin Islanders will finally get a chance to see the end product.

The premiere of Island Song will be held 6 p.m. Wednesday at Caribbean Cinemas in Market Square East on St. Thomas. The screening is free to the public.

David Massey, the film's director and co-producer, lived on St. Croix and St. Thomas for nine years in the 1980s and worked as a disc jockey at two local radio stations. He then moved to Los Angeles, but his heart remained in the territory.

"It's always been a dream to come back and film a movie on St. Croix," Massey said.

Massey said the film is about a disc jockey, Maurice Manning, as he leaves the states and journeys to the mystical Virgin Islands only to find himself caught up in a dark, criminal underworld of illegal contraband. Believing he is in control of his world, Maurice uncovers the dark figures pulling the strings of his career. He later learns that something far more sinister is going on. His target: The mythic and elusive figure known only as Zerai, a prophet, poet and warrior whose lifelong goal is to keep the islands safe. It's Zerai who teaches Maurice humility and charity.

"The film is character-driven and music-driven," Massey said. "We hope that by the end of the movie, everyone will be inspired."

He said local music is heavily featured in the film.

Homegrown musician and actor Benny Demus plays Zerai and said the message behind the movie through the acting and music is that drugs and violence destroy the magic and natural beauty of the islands and their potential to attract money and opportunities for everyone.

He said the film shows the dark side of the islands, but it also features dynamic aerial shots, underwater shots and lush scenery of the naturally beautiful territory.

Benny Demus grew up in Fredenhoj and has kept his local connections.

Sporting a personality as vibrant as his native St. Thomas and a signature mohawk haircut to match, Benny Demus is well-known entertainer. He has been the DJ and musical director for Akon since 2003 and said his music and acting are more than entertainment, because he wants people to be aware of the social plight of the territory.

Local actor and radio and television personality George Silcott is also among the local talent on the film. He creates an incredible chemistry in the cast that also includes veterans in the business like Richard Grant, who has appeared in more than 80 films and television programs, such as "L.A. Story," "Dracula" and "The Hound Of The Baskervilles." In 2005, he directed his first major release, "Wah-Wah."

The film also features actor Martin Dew, who, as a British voice talent, could be heard in the BBC Radio 4 Drama series "Fear on Four." Further television appearances in the United Kingdom include "Dr. Who," Superchannel's Hippo and an interview on Jonathan Ross's BBC program.

Martin worked as an executive in the film industry for many years. His recent return to acting has included roles in Steven Spielberg's "War Horse" in 2011, "The Master" in 2012 and TV shows "Mad Men" and "Conan" in the last year.

Benny Demus said the film is 45 minutes long and it is a great opportunity to residents to see the talent and scenery merged on the project.

- Contact reporter Fiona Stokes at 714-9149 or email fstokes@dailynews.vi.

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