If there’s something that this rollercoaster of a year has proven is that nothing is ever as easy as it seems. Sometimes, our dreams and projects just don’t seem to go the way we’ve planned, no matter how much we try, but sometimes, that’s just the key to finally realizing them. That’s the story of filmmaker Walter Wray and his upcoming film, “Justice Through Redemption.”
Wray, also known as Walt Diddy, is an independent filmmaker who values his crew as a vital part of his creative process. Through inclusion and team building, Wray looks to achieve a cohesive team that works to tell touching and emotional stories; in fact, it can be said that the key to Wray’s success as a filmmaker is the way he manages to create a “family” with his crew, and this approach can truly be seen on-screen.
Walt Diddy planning his movie The Eyes of Justice in 2018
Even though becoming a film director sounds like a daunting enough tasks for many, Wray went the extra mile and decided to work as director/writer in his productions. For some, that might sound like a lot of extra workload, but the truth is that this combination is not a rare occurrence in the industry, and usually leads to smaller, more passionate projects that ooze with the author’s intentions and ideas.
“Justice Through Redemption” releases later this year, as the movie has already entered pre-production, but the real-life story of the movie (and that of its creator) has been a bona fide odyssey of its own. Indeed, Walt Diddy’s road to becoming a filmmaker and releasing his first feature film has been worthy of a movie of its own.
Walking along a rocky road
Beginning in 2018, Walt Diddy’s usual approach to crew-building was put to test when his entire cast and crew left the production of the movie. What’s more, in the filmmaker’s own words, the team left without even giving him a phone call. A single crew member bailing out of a production might shake up things a little; the whole team leaving can make you reconsider if concluding the project is even feasible.
Feeling betrayed by his community, and even by his own family, it seemed like “Justice Through Redemption” wouldn’t be able to make it beyond principal photography. The story Walt Diddy wanted to tell was one of redemption and second opportunities, and it seems fitting that his own story, like many examples of movies that follow the hero’s journey, had to first reach a low point before it could succeed.
The original 2018, 1st draft of Through The Legs of Justice now Justice Through Redemption
It soon became apparent that what Walt Diddy needed most was a time for himself; a time that he had to spend healing, regrouping and rethinking his approach, all in the name of making “Justice Through Redemption” a reality. In the meantime, Diddy wrote two books to keep his creativity alive, including “Healing your Emotional Timeline”, a self-help book that deals with emotional trauma and the possibility that the past might be keeping you from your future.
2019 was a time of rebirth for Walt Diddy: the first step to regroup his thoughts was to spend some time away from social media. The absence of a social media profile might seem counterproductive when it comes to networking and even idea-gathering, but in Walt Diddy’s case, it was just the key to rethink some key aspects of his work.
Another aspect of the project that Walt needed to mend was the budget. Funding an independent project is never easy, especially when it comes to your first feature film. Even though the director had already worked on a documentary (The Charger “We Not Me”), the challenges that come with a film are a different beast altogether.
Walt Diddy March 2020 production studio owner
Amid these harsh times, Demi Johnson, the actress who plays June Rey in “Justice Through Redemption,” supported Walt Diddy’s efforts to see his movie come to life. One of the aspects that kept Johnson’s faith in Walt was his honesty, and it takes a great deal of honesty with oneself to be able to identify what’s keeping a project down and being able to fix it.
This year has been a huge test of endurance for people from all walks of life, and that goes double for team efforts like making a movie; but, as the adage goes, “the show must go on.” Earlier this year, with the help of a new crew and a reinvigorated cast, “Justice Through Redemption” has finished shooting and entered post-production.
Justice Through Redemption movie poster 2020
The local community of Hot Springs is shocked by the murder of college superstar Dean Rey. A Low-level private investigator Robert Wren falls victim to a mysterious woman whose charms and beauty might change Wren’s life forever. The movie tells a tale of lies and deception, where nothing is what it seems and one-night stands can have life-altering consequences.
Up-and-coming actress Tikima Bowers is Justice, who alongside Jeffrey Smith (who portrays private investigator Robert Wren in the movie) plays the main couple of the film. They’re joined by Demi Johnson as June Rey and Anna Stadler as Elaine Wren.
A remarkable thing about making an independent film is the opportunities it creates for new talent to leave their marks in the complicated world of cinema. Indie productions like this one are a great way for studios to scout new prospects, both in acting and behind the cameras, and they’re also a great way for new filmmakers to let their voices be heard amid a sea of monotonous blockbusters.
The film aims for a November release, as post-production work began right after the shooting was done. For those eager to catch an earlier glimpse of the movie, a trailer should be available come September, so I shouldn’t be long until “Justice Through Redemption” appears on many indie film aficionados’ radar.
It has been a tumultuous journey for filmmaker Walt Diddy, but it’s also been a journey filled with new opportunities to learn, adapt, and ultimately grow, as a way to achieve his goal of telling the story he wants to tell. Swimming against the current in an industry where, more often than not, lies and deception are a must, Walt Diddy’s honest desire to become the filmmaker he knows he can be has garnered him the support of his cast and crew, in a world where truth flows downstream.
By: J.G Martin – Freelance blogger