0

Clayton, Henry students in movie that premieres Friday

By Curt Yeomans

cyeomans@news-daily.com

Willyncia Speights, Rachel Jones and Skylar Kearney had never made a film before, much less play adults in serious roles.

But they will make their debuts as film stars on Friday in the movie, "Switching Roles."

The film, which was written, directed and produced by Will Speights, Willyncia's father, will have a red carpet premiere on Friday, at 7 p.m., at the Screenworks Theater at South DeKalb Mall, located at 2801 Candler Road, in Decatur.

Thirty-five schools from across the metro Atlanta area will gather at the theater earlier in the day for a preview screening of the film.

The purpose of the movie, which was shot partially in Stockbridge, and partially in downtown Atlanta, is to teach children and their parents to appreciate what they have.

"Most kids take what they have for granted, and are not grateful for all of the things their parents do for them," said Skylar Kearney, 11, a sixth-grader at Austin Road Middle School in Stockbridge. "Some parents don't appreciate the money they make from working in corporate America, because they go out and buy all of this stuff that they don't need. If you don't save your money, one day, you could lose everything."

The film's title has two meanings. On the one hand, it refers to Willyncia Speight's character, who is an African-American banker, who wants to be a Caucasian like everyone else at her place of employment. In the end, she loses her job, her daughter and her home, and ends up eating garbage out of trash cans, because she let her desire to be someone else consume her life.

"She was not really grateful for the way God made her, because she was black, but she wanted to be white," said Speights, 10, a fifth-grader at Hawthorne Elementary School in Hampton.

On the other hand, it refers to the fact that children play the adults, and adults play young children. Adult actress, Amanda Rosario, and comedian, Gary Hill, also star in the movie as Speight's daughter and Kearney's son, respectively.

"It [playing an adult] felt sort of weird at first, because this was my first movie, and I wasn't used to this," said Rachel Jones, 9, a fourth-grader at Strong Rock Christian School in Locust Grove.