STARRING & ORIGINAL SCORE BY Saul Williams
WRITTEN AND DIRECTED BY Charles Officer
RELEASE DATE June 11, 2021 (In Select Theaters and on Digital Platforms)
*OFFICIAL SELECTION- TORONTO INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL**NOMINATED FOR SEVEN CANADIAN SCREEN AWARDS*
In his latest feature, AKILLA’S ESCAPE, Charles Officer confronts toxic masculinity and shows how the actions of one man can halt the generational cycles of violence and poverty. Akilla, played masterfully by poet and actor Saul Williams, navigates the criminal underworld of Toronto and after a robbery gone awry, finds himself sucked back into the turbulent violence he has fought so long to escape. In two mirrored storylines, we watch Akilla as both a boy and a man resist this violent life and live by his own terms. A cinematic crime noir set to a soundtrack created by Saul Williams and Massive Attack’s 3D, AKILLA’S ESCAPE is a poignant art piece which presents an alternative definition to the media’s portrayal of Black masculinity.
SYNOPSIS – AKILLA’S ESCAPE weaves the present and past in a crime-noir about the urban child soldier. Set in Toronto and New York where over 450,000 Jamaicans reside, the story speaks to the historical criminalization of black boys that modern society overlooks.
Akilla is forty-years-old and for the first time in his life, the clandestine cannabis grow operation he runs is legit. Only one year into government approved legislation, the pendulum of hypocrisy takes a toll and Akilla decides to cash out. While making a routine delivery on a cool, summer night, destiny takes an unexpected turn when Akilla confronts a firestorm of masked youths in an armed robbery.
In the aftermath of the heist, Akilla captures one of the thieves, a mute fifteen-year-old boy named Sheppard. Upon learning the bandits are affiliated with the Garrison Army, a Jamaican crime syndicate his grandfather founded, Akilla is forced to reckon with a cycle of violence he thought he escaped.