Memphis has always been a place where Hollywood would occasionally stop to do a movie. Memphis added another feature film to its resume with the recently released “Brian Banks,” movie. Several Memphis locations were used in the film including Booker T. Washington High School and Whitehaven Stadium.
“Brain Banks” tells the story of a star high school football player who was falsely accused and convicted of rape against an acquaintance. Banks was a promising football player, rated as one of the best players and the country and had scholarship offers to many of the top schools in the country. Instead, he finds himself in prison.
Banks continue to proclaim his innocence while serving his team in state prison in California. While in prison, Banks befriends his accuser and was able to obtain information that helped get his conviction overturned.
The movie had an earlier opening in Atlanta. Locally, Mowbray Rowand, CEO of One Stop Taxes, and his wife Cherina decided that the company would sponsor a Red-Carpet affair in Memphis since the movie was mostly filmed here.
“We are lifelong Memphians and we have a love for the film community. As a former student of the University of Memphis, with a film and video degree, we have a love for the film community,” Cherina Rowand said. “We had a chance to see the film in Atlanta. We talked to the marketing company and they informed us that there is not a premier in Memphis, but what you can do to support the film is do a theater buy out.”
The movie gave some Memphians the opportunity to be on the silver screen for the first time and to also shine the bright Hollywood spotlight on the city. Robert Williams and Khylan Zinn were among those with non-speaking roles in the film.
“I was one of the officers at the school. This was a level up for me I have done some web series before,” Williams said of his role. “I was able to meet Brian Banks on set. I was in the part where the girl snitched on him.”
Zinn was encouraged to get involved with the movie by his mom.
“I have experience in plays and sitcoms,” Zinn said, adding that he gets a charge out of seeing himself on film. “I never thought I would see myself on the big screen.”
The red-carpet event was held at the Hollywood Cinema. The movie grossed $2.4 million in its opening weekend on 1.240 screens.