“In the Hive” is the newest film from veteran writer, producer and director Robert Townsend, and it that tells the true story of Vivian Sanders, a cook at an alternative school who took on the responsibility of educating boys that no one else would.
Actors Loretta Devine, Michael Clarke Duncan and Vivica A. Fox star in “In The Hive,” which takes its name from a North Carolina school that focuses on technology. Newcomer Jonathan McDaniel stars as Xtra Keys, a gang member who is in and out of prison. The story is about his “last chance.”
In an interview with the Palm Beach Post after the film’s American Black Film Festival premiere, Townsend said his film reflects the balance that is sorely needed in the entertainment industry, where the majority of films featuring a predominately black cast depict either buffoonery or ghetto violence.
The production of the film is interesting and innovative. The project is the first theatrical feature film produced through Townsend Entertainment Corp.’s unique partnership with a global nonprofit, One Economy. One Economy Corp. is a Washington-based, global, nonprofit organization that uses the power of technology to connect underserved, low-income communities around the world to vital online information and resources. One Economy founded the real Hive school that inspired the movie.
Rey Ramsey, One Economy’s co-founder and chairman of the board, had the idea for turning this real life program into a feature film as a way to engage a national discussion of the future of at-risk youth and the need to invest in the education.
Townsend said in an interview that he believes troubled children are looking for another way. “I think a film like this will examine what’s going on and cause good discussion,” he said.
And the film is indeed sparking discussion. At an AT&T sponsored premiere of the film at the NAACP National Convention, Jeff Johnson of the “Tom Joyner Morning Show” moderated a robust Q&A among Townsend, the entire cast and about 150 Los Angeles students about the film and it’s themes of redemption, education, technology and uplift of the African American community.
For more on the story behind the film check out the documentary on Vivian Sanders and the Hive: