A Local Teen's Documentary on Slavery Premieres Friday in Detroit

January 30, 2014, 1:06 PM by  Allan Lengel

Luke Jaden discusses his film on WXYZ.

Luke Jaden, a senior at Detroit Country Day, has already accomplished what some people considerably older still aspire to: He's created a documentary that's getting some attention.

His film, "Madman or Martyr," the story on white abolitionist John Brown, the abolitionist movement and the Underground Railroad, premieres Friday at the Charles H. Wright Museum in Detroit. 

The 40-minute film deals with the impact this all had on Detroit between the years 1837-59.

"Madman or Martyr, searches for the true meaning of Brown's life and the brutality of slavery; in an attempt to free the slaves from the bondages from this brutal institution," Jaden writes in his press release. "Brown's life falls into a dark, chasm filled with a macabre of events that prevents him from achieving salvation for the African American slaves. "

His press release says  the Winans family did the original musical score for the film along with Sky Hy a local Detroit band.

How did he come up with this film? 

"It was a history class project last year,” Jaden told Cal Stone of the Observer & Eccentric. “It was our whole grade – either write a paper on Abraham Lincoln or do a documentary on abolition. I thought it would be cool to do a documentary, mainly because I’m an actor. But I wanted to try out this whole writing, producing, directing thing and see what’s behind the camera, not necessarily what’s in front.”

The film premiers Friday at the GM Theater at The Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History in Detroit.  Doors open at 5:30 p.m. The film starts at 6, followed by a Q&A that will include some cast and crew members.

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