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Locally Made Film Looks At Life's Dark Side

Of the Oakland Press

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Detroit native Vince Orlando went to Northern Michigan University to study finance and international business. Then he took an acting class.

“That was it,” he says with a laugh. “I packed up my car that summer (1997) and headed to L.A. with just what I had.”

Orlando, 31, has racked up a few credits since then — the fi lm “Maximum Justice” with Corey Feldman and TV shows such as “Beverly Hills 90210,” “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” and “Saved by the Bell.” But tonight at Detroit’s State Theatre, he rolls out his labor of love — the drama “Life Goes On.” Filmed in the Detroit area between October 2004

and December 2005, the low-budget project stars and was written and produced by Orlando — who turned down a studio offer to buy another of his scripts, “Somewhere Better Than Here,” because it wanted someone else to play the lead role. “Life Goes On” traces 48 hours in the life of Vince

Buch anan, a onetime football star and prom king at Hazel Park High School (Orlando’s alma mater) who’s turned drug dealer — and addict. Amid explicit scenes of drug use and abuse, the script chronicles Buchanan’s continuing obsession with his estranged girlfriend Amy (Stacey Szymanski), a recent law school graduate.

Experiences from Orlando’s own life — including a friend who suffered a fatal drug overdose and a classmate who earned a law degree — inspired the story.

“I was involved with nightclubs and afterhours (clubs) and that whole scene for a while,” he says. “I never really got too out of control, mainly ’cause I wanted to be an actor, so that would always pull me back. But I did see a lot of people lose control.”

“Life Goes On” was directed by Brian Lawrence, who worked with Orlando in another upcoming fi lm, “Panic in Detroit.” The cast includes local rappers Obie Trice as a comically paranoid drug dealer and Paradime as himself, while Detroit rockers Dirty Americans contributed to the soundtrack.

The movie has just been submitted to the prestigious Sundance Film Festival, and Lawrence says that MTV Films has expressed interest in it, too.

“The goal right now is to get a major festival, get some exposure, fi nd an audience,” Orlando says. “It’s a unique fi lm. The only thing it lacks is major movie star power, but if the story is good enough, sometimes you can slip through the cracks.”

“Life Goes On” premieres Friday (September 22nd) at the State Theatre, 2115 Woodward Ave., Detroit. The evening also will feature performances by Obie Trice, Paradime, Dirty Americans, Mark Lee Scott, Ill Manored, Fa’Sho and DJ Mike Scroggs. Doors open at 8 p.m. Admission is $20 general admission, $75 VIP. Call (313) 961-5450 or visit www.statetheatredetroit.com. More information about “Life Goes On” is available at www.LGOthemovie.com.

Send your thoughts and comments to Gary Graff


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