Urban Movie Channel (UMC) is poised to release director and University of Southern Mississippi graduate Patrik Ian-Polk’s award-winning film “Blackbird” April 24.
The film, featuring USM student Julian Walker as the protagonist Randy, is based on Larry Duplechan’s novel of the same name. UMC plans for the independent film’s release to be limited to theaters in Atlanta, Los Angeles, New York, San Francisco and Washington, D.C., according to Indie Wire.
Walker stars alongside Isaiah Washington and Academy Award-winning actress Mo’Nique in this coming-of-age story about a Southern choirboy struggling with his sexuality, among several other problems.
“A lot of people feel uncomfortable about themselves, from their sexuality to teen pregnancy, and it’s like everybody feels uncomfortable talking about it,” Walker said, according to an April 2014 article by The Student Printz. He iterated that the message behind this movie is that no matter who you are, everyone should be loved.
“I wanted to tell a quaint, moving love story,” said Ian-Polk, whose hometown is Hattiesburg and who received his undergraduate degree from USM in 1994.
According to The Student Printz, the 99-minute film won Best Feature Narrative Award at the 15th Annual Crossroads Film Festival in Jackson, and the film also won the Founder’s Award at the Pan-African Film Festival in Los Angeles.
Walker, who studies theatre and media production, said he will be featured on several shows soon. He will be on “The View,” “Good Day New York” and “The Meredith Vieira Show” within the next couple of weeks. Walker said he has yet to receive an official schedule and the dates are TBD.