Why Terrance Tykeem and Montel Williams Thought They Should Make When George Was Killed – Exclusive
This article discusses the murder of George Floyd and other police killings.
“When George Was Killed: Where Were You?” is the latest project from writer and director Terrance Tykeem, known for his film ‘Jason’s Letter’. The story is a retelling of the aftermath of George Floyd’s murder. The film specifically shows what happened in the prison where Floyd’s murderer, Derek Chauvin, was held in the spring of 2020. As the film progresses, audiences are shown how the ex-cop’s presence affects the guards, prisoners, and the captain (played by Montel Williams† Tensions inside and outside the prison only mount when it turns out that the minority guards are being kept away from Chauvin’s unit.
In an exclusive interview, Tykeem and Williams discussed why they thought this was an important story to tell. While it’s a polarizing topic, they both felt they had to be brave enough to tackle it.
The story touches everyone
The murder of George Floyd sparked protests and sparked conversations about police brutality not only across the country, but around the world. That’s why Terrance Tykeem knew that a movie on that subject had a built-in audience. “It’s one of those kind of movies where… everyone knows the subject, so I had to be brave enough to tell it,” the filmmaker told The List. But he also knew that he had to approach the story carefully.
“I went from the point of view of telling what happened, how the story really affected everyone, the nation and the world… most of the people were involved because we were all trapped in our homes when this whole thing happened, Tykeem said.
While most people knew about Floyd’s murder, Tykeem also wanted to record what happened in prison. Once he learned that the minority guards of Chauvin’s unit were being held, he knew this was an untold part of the story he wanted to discuss.
“The most important thing for me was to tell the story from the point of view of letting it be known that we are dealing with an issue that people need to know more about, which is how the families were being exploited, the presence of this man in prison, sat, and how his presence touched everyone’s existence. In prison, outside prison, at their homes, their relationships, I wanted to show all that,” Tykeem said.
They hope the film continues the conversation
Speaking of his hopes for “When George Got Murdered,” Montel Williams said, “From my perspective, I hope this sparks the conversation that is so needed in America.” But despite that goal, he’s not confident that America is “ready to sit down and have that conversation.”
Terrance Tykeem agreed with Williams, saying: “Right now we know the reality of this. ‘Jaded’ is an understatement for what I am now. We know the reality, but we still have to… If you get a platform so, you should do it.” Despite how discouraging it can be, it was important for them to get this story out there.
Tykeem explained that he is realistic about the fact that many people have already made up their minds on the matter. “There’s a group of people who don’t care… They love the police. They go with the cop anyway,” he said. But the filmmaker added that by doing a project like this you still “hope you get more people to open their minds and let them see and understand what the subject is.”
“When George Got Murdered” is now available on digital streaming platforms, including Prime Video, Google Play, YouTube and JustWatch.
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