Abdu Abdu Dandridge

Abdu Dandridge by: Shandal Clay

  • Who do you look up too in the industry and why?

    Melvin Van Peebles, Spike Lee, George Lucas, F. Gary, Robert Rodriguez and Steven Soderbergh. These directors have revolutionized filmmaking in one way or another. They have set new trends and their footprints in filmmaking will last for a life time. Melvin Van Peebles and Spike Lee have paved the way for African American filmmakers like myself. They have given us the voice and the opportunity to express our artistic vision through the film medium. Steven Soderbergh, Robert Rodriguez and F. Gary Gray are excellent filmmakers in their own right. From transforming guerrilla film making, crossing over from television to film has given digital film making a home in the industry. George Lucas is kind of self explanatory.... "Star Wars". A film that was made in the 70's for $13 million dollars went on to make over a half a billion dollars in the box office which 30 years later topped todays highest gross supper hero film "Spider Man". Not only was Star Wars way ahead of its time... it's look and the story still can compete with comparable films using latest technology in light and magic. In the 70's, movie tickets were less than half of what they cost today and that film still beat out our today's film giants. If you compared the sales tickets of the 70's to today's box office sales tickets... that film would have made over a billion dollars just at the box office back then. George Lucas is a genius and a magician when it comes to the art of filmmaking and story telling....

    What was your vision of the start of writing this movie till now the finished product?

    My vision was to tell a coming of age story that teaches a life lesson and send a powerful message in the end. The story has stayed the same since 1993 till now. Some changes were made but the concept was the same. My goal is to teach the audience especially adolescents of the consequences to succumbing to peer pressure. I didn't want to produce an urban film about senseless killings, gang banging or black on black crime. My film is not about that. It's about making the right choices in life.... everyone has a choice no matter the circumstances. We all possess the same power and that is "FREE WILL".  I wanted to educate not just the people in the urban communities but everyone around the globe. This film has a world wide appeal because everyone faces peer pressure in one way or another no matter the religion or ethnicity. I know I cant save a million lives at once... But if I can save at least one life at a time, then this film has served its purpose.

    What kind of advice could you give an upcoming independent filmmaker to get to the status that you have achieved?

    That filmmaker needs to know and respect 3 elements in the entertainment industry. Those 3 elements are...You either need money, either know someone who has a major influence, or sacrifice. These are the only 3 ways to get somewhere in the industry. I personally had to sacrifice...I had none of the other 2 elements. I paid my dues of 16 years of hard hands on school of hard knox hustling and networking.....and I'm still grinding. I will grind until my eyes close forever and even then, my legacy will live on for someone else to carry the torch.  If you do not have either of the 2 elements and if you are the type that complains, seek excuses and are just too lazy to sacrifice for something that you love and strongly believe in no matter what anyone says... then apply for a regular 9-5 or go pack bags at your nearest grocery store for chump change... because this industry is not for the week.
    Now that this has been officially released do you have a new project that your fans can look forward too? And if so can you give us any information on it?

    Yes I have a new project now in development titled "Pay Day". Its an action pack drama film that takes place on Wall Street Manhattan New York. All I have to say is... "Get ready for a train ride that you will never forget"

    I know with the time frame you had doing the making of this film, did you feel at any point about just giving up or throwing in the towel?

    No!... There was never a moment when I wanted to give up and throw in the towel. Id draw blood before that thought would ever enter into existence. I came to far to give up, worked too hard and I had a lot to prove. I was like a locomotive train moving at a thousand miles per hour and didn't plan on stopping not even for a baby on the tracks. This is my life and there was nothing on this earth that could stop me.  There were over 250 people involved who depend on me and this film... and the entire world that needed to see my message. This film was getting made no matter what and I meant that with everything in me until my last breath.  Didn't care about anything but that. I had to literally erase my whole life before the first shoot day. On shoot day # 1, I knew nothing else but that...Make the movie and finish. That's it!!!

    What made you decide to head in this direction (filmmaking) versus any other art form?

    I love filmmaking and I love entertainment... I get the opportunity to have a voice and teach people at the same time. It gives me the chance to express my opinion, my thoughts, ideas, visions and my experiences. I can reach the globe...by just saying the word...."action". I have the privilege to use freedom of speech through the lens.

    What's individuates you from other filmmakers?

    Always expect the unexpected from me.  I create opportunities, I'm new, fresh with new ideas for the love of film. Will not stop at nothing. I'm hardworking, don't complain, I sacrifice, paid my dues, continue to grind, create, love what I do, take advantage of opportunities given. I'm a leader, team player, I start new trends...expect an unorthodox pattern in filmmaking...I do what I want when I want and how I want. I push the envelope. I'm a supporter of trying new things and I'm very innovative. The industry has no choice but to make room for me because I am the best!!!....YES I AM CLAIMING THAT!!!

    Where can we get this film?

    The film is being digitally distributed though CODEBLACK/ UNIVERSAL. You can watch the film as many times as you wish within the 24 hour period available now on demand for $3.99  @ www.codeblacktv.com. When you get to the site, click on the left hand side of the screen where it says "codeblacktv movies on demand". The next page will display a digital catalog of films. There you will see my film titled "Pressure". Watch it and enjoy.. I'd love all your feed back. Please visit me and leave all your comments about the film @ www.pressureentertainment.com

    Click Image below to stream and watch the full length feature now on Demand!!!!!!!.....


Pressure Film


    • What was your inspiration for the movie?

      In 1993, me, my childhood friends including my brother were producing sketch comedy shows for Brooklyn community access television called "No B.S Allowed". Because of the notoriety we've gained in our own Brooklyn neighborhood, I wanted to further entertain the public and become more notable to a wider audience. I wanted to do a feature film about how we grew up. I missed my childhood during the 70's and the 80's. I wanted to show how it used to be growing up in the projects before crack cocaine came to Brooklyn in 1985. But I needed the film to have morals and I needed the film to have a global appeal. We all were supposed to get together and write the film but it never happened. So I came up with the idea and wrote it myself and titled the film "Pressure".

      What was your inspiration?

      I guess it would be where I grew up. In the projects in Fortgreen Brooklyn....my family and friends. My life and the people who have become special to me has probably shaped who I am today. Everything I know and who I am has come from where I'm from and what I've experienced in my life... I've been inspired by my life.

      Can you breakdown the synopsis for us?

      Its a coming of age story about a young adolescent coming up in the 80's who learns life lessons from the end result of succumbing to peer pressure. Peer pressure is not an issue only dealt with in urban communities. This is a topic that young adolescents can relate to globally. The story not only talks about peer pressure, it captivates all the hip hop elements during those times in order to capture the essence and realism of the 80's. There are 3 real cypher b-boy battles in the film with the "Dynamic Rockers" and the "Supreme Beingz". This story couldn't have been released at a better time especially since we are dealing with a new generation of kids that dress and associate themselves with the 80's era.

    • Tell us a little about character detail and how you went about casting the roles?

      Well, because this is a coming of age story, we had to cast three different time periods of the film. The best way to accomplish this was to cast families that best fit the profile of the characters. Doing this made the story more believable. When we finally found a family... we had to make sure that if they weren't seasoned that at least they were willing to work hard for the role.  As we were nearing the shoot date, time and budget constraints were not on our side. We had to finally narrow the cast down so that the main characters could portray two eras in the film while the younger sibling would do the younger role. The characters "Karon" played my Damion Omar Lee and "Michael" played by Chauncey Meeks Owens were a perfect match. I had to make sure the chemistry was right in order for these two individuals to portray best friends in the film. I couldn't have picked a better match. If I had to do it all again...I wouldn't have changed a thing. I am very grateful of their professionalism and their talent.  Dealing with children became another obstacle because children have short attention spans... especially in the summer. So therefore, we had to cast kids that were either seasoned or first time aspiring actors who wanted it bad enough...but, at the same time, their  parents had to be dedicated and supportive.

      Who supported you the most behind this?

      As far as this film is concerned...my Wife, Glenn Coston, Marie Strane, Lionel Watson, Rich Williams, Kevin Vuong, Jimson Tamano, David George Ellis, Dara Mcfarlane, Zaire Baptiste,  Shaheem Rangan, Leayle Francis, Kendall Scott, Jamar Cook, Byron Franklin, Alex Brown, Constance Hammond, Carlos Dandridge, Abdul Yoba, Gerard Louis, Thomasina Meeks Owens and her entire family and entire cast / crew/ Dynamic Rockers/ Supreme Beingz/ NYC Tranzformerz/ all the individual poppers and b-boy dancers.... They were with me as if I were "Maximus" in the film "Gladiator". I will never forget any of them... they are all dear to my heart. The people that I have specifically mentioned, have seen my vision/ believed in it and stayed with me from the start and they all remain with me to this very day. My immediate family and some of my closest childhood friends have supported me since day one. They have encouraged me since 1993...the year I put the pen to the pad and my hands on a camera. There were times I would get discouraged because of the doors constantly being shut in my face. I have letters which I used to refer to as "turn me down letters" from reputable agencies and production companies that would cover one side of your bedroom wall. I still have them and I keep them as a reminder..."that no one can stop me and those letters are just opinions". But instead of getting angry and frustrated, those letters gave me strength, energy and perseverance. It took me 16 years to be where I'm at today. Sometimes I ask my self... Was it worth the long wait and the struggle? my answer is yes...you couldn't knock me down off the roof of a tall sky scrapper because I learned from the school of hard knox.

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    In the Benja