Running Time 11:00
No Behind The Scenes
This film is also available as part of the HIV/AIDS Film Compilation
When three young men chat up the new girl on the block, only one gets lucky. But he, however, is forced to deal with his HIV status. This film was written by youth incarcerated on Rikers Island and directed by Academy Award winner Adam Davidson.
The Monster was written by Randy Walton, Naeqwan Clarke, Jarel Turner and Brinton Newson, a group of youth incarcerated on Rikers Island. The teens co-wrote the shooting script with John Hamburg (Meet The Parents) and Adam Davidson (The Lunch Date), the film was directed by Adam Davidson, shot by Lee Daniel (Slacker, Dazed & Confused) and produced by Avram Ludwig (Swingers; Fast Food, Fast Women) and stars Omar Scroggins and Neko Parham (HBO’s The Corner). Music composed and performed by Mary Ann Vieira (formerly of The Digable Planets).
- 2000 New York Contest Winner, New York, NY
- The Monster has been featured in numerous film festivals and was awarded the 2002 Paul Robeson Award for Best Short Film at the 28th Annual Newark Black Film Festival and the Henry Hampton Award for Excellence in Media from the Council on Foundations. The film and the writers were featured on a segment on ABC’s World News Tonight. The Monster is used in various school districts around the country, including the New York City and Miami-Dade School Districts.
- Screened at Tribeca Film Festival, 2005
- Screened at the 2013 Women of African Descent Film Festival
The Story Behind the Story
In addition to schools and community based organizations, Scenarios USA reaches out to youth in jails and prisons, where the rate of AIDS is six-times higher than in the community outside bars. Five incarcerated boys from Rikers Island’s Detention Center won Scenarios 2000 NY contest.
In general, the winners of the Scenarios contest are involved in every step of the production process so that the final film is true to the writers’ vision. Since the writers of The Monster were in jail, the director, Adam Davidson, and writer, John Hamburg, traveled to Rikers Island on a bi-monthly basis to meet with the youth. Adam and John worked with the writers to adapt the script and also brought in tapes of casting sessions and location scouts for the writers input. In fact, the kids kept demanding another casting session because they couldn’t agree on a lead actress!
The writers chose a location in the Bedford-Stuyvesant neighborhood of Brooklyn. After a few hours of shooting, Scenarios and the crew were confronted by members of the local neighborhood watch group. When they were told the nature of the project, they immediately welcomed the crew and started helping with the filming.
Scenarios premiered the film on Rikers Island in November 2001 for over 200 teenage inmates and over a dozen crew members from The Monster and the accompanying film Nightmare on AIDS Street attended this screening. ABC World News Tonight with Peter Jennings featured a segment on The Monster, which included behind-the-scenes footage of the production and interviews with the youth on Rikers.
One of the writers, Randy Walton is very interested in pursing a screenwriting career. His talents are clear. His entry for the following year’s Scenarios contest was the runner up!