Tumbling, the first movie from filmmaker Shameka Raines, a 1998 graduate of Port St. Joe High School, will debut April 20 at the Martin Theater in Panama City.
The urban film tells the story of five members of an organized crime unit who end up fighting for revenge, power and greed.
“Life is about choices, and each one has a consequence,” said Raines of the movie’s theme.
The Port St. Joe native, who wrote, directed, and produced the movie under the name Brooklynn Winters, spent the last three years working on the film after the idea struck her in 2009.
In order to see it through to the screen, she overcame the hurdles of minimal funds, limited resources and no connections in the film world.
“I didn’t know how make the movie,” said Raines, “So I had to do 92 percent of everything.”
Her first obstacle was to create a crime film that didn’t glorify drugs and displayed a fresh take on the genre.
Raines had to “find a different spin” on the story. Once she found her angle, it took her two weeks to draft the first version of the script. Once complete she had to find actors and locations to bring Tumbling to life.
Utilizing modeling agencies and open casting calls through Craigslist and Facebook, she assembled a cast of over 50 actors and three crewmembers to populate the world she had created.
The entire movie was shot in various Florida towns including Jacksonville, Tampa, Orlando, and Miami.
Because Raines lived in Jacksonville, where she graduated from Jacksonville University with a Bachelor’s in psychology and sociology, during the film’s production she often spent her weekends commuting to shooting locations.
Due to a limited film budget, Raines often had to get creative with specific locations.
She temporarily turned her brother’s house into the main character’s home, and a rented hotel room doubled as another important set. The film’s extras even assisted Raines in finding additional shooting locations in the towns she wasn’t familiar with.
Once shooting on the film had wrapped, Raines found herself having to edit the footage together, a process she learned through online tutorials.
When she and her mother watched the first cut of the film, all of her hard work had suddenly paid off.
Raines said her first thoughts were simply, “Wow, I can’t believe I did this.”
A writer since the age of two, Raines credits her former high school English teacher, Pat Lowry, for her guidance in how to write a film script. Raines had focused on novels and poetry but quickly found a love for writing movies.
Already considering her next projects, Raines has written her next film, a psychological thriller dealing with concepts of spirituality and narcissism, but wants to keep her focus for now on promoting Tumbling. She plans to submit the film to festivals to gain more exposure and would like to host additional premieres around Florida and surrounding states.
When asked about the overall experience of creating a film from the ground up, Raines said, “It was a lot of work.”
The filmmaker attributes her success to the support of her family, friends and teachers.
Raines hopes that she can inspire other future writers and directors from Gulf County to pursue their passions.
“Have supportive people who believe in what you’re doing,” advised Raines. “Believe in yourself and others will believe in you as well.”
Tumbling will premiere with two showings at the Martin Theater in Panama City.
The first will take place at 3:30 p.m. CT where guests will have an opportunity to meet and greet with the cast.
The second showing at 7 p.m. CT and will have a red carpet event prior to the start of the film.
Advance tickets for each showing are $10 and can be purchased at the Martin Theater box office, online at tumblingthemovie.com or by calling 404-981-8881.