Local moviemaker set to debut new film Thursday

Published 9:00 pm Wednesday, March 7, 2012

A local moviemaker is back at it.

     Producer and director Torino Johnson, of Brookhaven, will debut his third full-length film Thursday night in Madison at the Malco Theater. Start time is scheduled for 7 p.m.

     The film, entitled “Lonely,” is about three characters who are dealing with the loss of loved ones and who are working to find out why they lost those people and who did it, according to Johnson.

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     “There’s a few twists in there about what they have to do to find the person,” said Johnson. “It’s mostly drama, with some action and some sadness.”

     Brookhaven’s Heather Thurgood is one of the lead actors. Steven Lloyd and Greg Thomas are also featured in the film.

     The filming took place mostly in Brookhaven between September to February. Other scenes were shot in Hattiesburg, Jackson, Atlanta and Memphis.

     “We’re proud of it,” said Johnson. “We feature mainly people from Brookhaven. We want to make the town proud and make people lift their heads up and be proud at how they represented it.”

     Runtime is an hour and 20 minutes and it will be shown with two short films to fill a two-hour slot.

     Thurgood said she’s worked with Johnson many times in the past.

     “I’ve known Johnson for years,” said Thurgood. “We’ve worked together several years ago in previous projects.”

     Thurgood, a 15-year veteran of Brookhaven Little Theatre, works at Supertalk Mississippi 102.1 as an announcer, producer and office manager.

     Johnson said the film is based on something that happened to him several years ago.

     “It stems from something that happened to me back in 1996 where I lost someone,” said Johnson. “The characters are basically me and the people who were around me and helped me get through it.”

     Johnson has produced and directed two full-length films and about 10 shorts, not counting this one.

     “I’m producing one that a classmate from Southern Miss wrote that will star Thurgood,” said Johnson. “We have some other films we’re working on this year, so we’ll be busy.”

     Johnson’s film career started in 1991 when he was a radio/television/film major at Alcorn State.

     “I was asked to be on a film crew and I just fell in love with movies and TV and it clicked for me,” said Johnson. “When I was in school, my teachers encouraged me to read and write more. So my imagination started there.”

     The film would not have been possible were it not for the help of the people of Brookhaven and local leaders, Johnson said.

     “We appreciate people letting us shoot and being hospitable to us,” said Johnson. “There’s no place like Brookhaven; I’ve been other places and the people here have just been great to us. The mayor and Police Chief Pap Henderson have all helped me with whatever we needed. I thank them.”

     Johnson added that he’s excited to show off what his crew has been busy with.

     “We’re ready to show everyone what we’ve been working on,” Johnson said. “We’re working on getting the film to the coast next.”

     Johnson said the film has to be converted to another format to be shown locally.

     “We want to try to get it to Brookhaven later in the summer,” he said. “And once we get the film into the same format they use in Brookhaven, we’ll get it in there.”