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On Demand Lesson Plan Cast & Crew

Running Time 17:10
Behind The Scenes 7:35


Tommy is a young man who works hard to make it to graduation, to be a good friend and a good boyfriend, and to raise his three sisters. On his 18th birthday, Tommy must reckon with both his past and his future to define for himself what it means to become a man. This film was written by Earlaina Kemp from Cleveland, Ohio. Directed by Rawson Marshall Thurber.


MANchild was written by Earlaina Kemp in Cleveland Ohio’s Martin Luther King High School. The film was directed by Rawson Marshall Thurber and shot by Lee Daniel.


  • Airing on Showtime
  • Aired on MNN 2010
  • Aired on BCAT 2010
  • Screened at the 2009 Provincetown International Film Festival
  • Pulitzer prize winner Connie Shultz writes about her time at the Cleveland Premiere of “MANchild”
    via Cleveland Plain Dealer/, March, 2009
  • 2007-2008 National Central Contest Winner, Cleveland Ohio
  • 2008 March, Writer Earlaina Kemp was invited to speak at Cleveland’s prestigious City Club. Every U.S. President has spoken at a City Club event and Earlaina was the youngest person ever invited.
  • Earlaina presented with Scenarios USA at the National Women’s Studies conference in Cincinnati.
  • Earlaina spoke to an MPH graduate student forum at the Case Western University
  • Earlaina was part of a panel at the Society for Adolescent Medicine’s Conference in Los Angeles.

The Story Behind the Story

Earlaina Kemp wrote the story for MANchild as an assignment in Rik York’s English class born out of the Scenarios USA contest, curriculum and films shown in the class. The first thing she wrote was “Tommy had three sisters, he had to do some things to support them…” and the story slowly grew from those 13 words. Earlaina lost the file for the script the day before it was due and had to run home to re-send an email to her teacher in order to recover the file and submit it to the contest.

Earlaina’s main character “Tommy” does things that are extremely masculine as well as things outside the scope of masculinity. She wants the audience to wonder, “Does that make him less of a man?” By making the film, Earlaina hopes to show people that anyone can accomplish anything, where ever they are from, whatever they’ve done in the past and whoever they are. Earlaina wants society to see Tommy as someone who cannot be compartmentalized, someone full of contradictions, a full person. There are a lot of Tommy’s out there!

MANchild was filmed in Cleveland Ohio. Earlaina was elected Senior Class President the day before production began in June. Twelve interns from several different high schools worked along side the crew. The professional film crew worked for two long days in four different locations around the city. Near the end of our last day, The Director, Rawson, invited a couple spectators watching the “Arrest Scene” to climb the fence and come Direct. Two young men took turns calling “Action” and “Cut” until we got the scene “in the can.”