‘South Central Love’ Brings New Faces To The Big Screen

By Estefani Alarcon

Inspired by a loss in her life, Christina Cooper set out to write, direct, produce and star in her own film ‘South Central Love’ which premieres Friday, August 9, 2019.

The film centers on Davonte (played by Jamal R. Henderson), a young man who wants to bring change into his South L.A. community but faces issues of where he has the chance to stop [the] cycle or continue running it.

Christina grew up in South L.A. and learned about loss at a young age when she lost her boyfriend to gun and street violence. She wanted to use her platform to combine her passion for film and purpose to spread love through her community, and developed ‘South Central Love.’

Her acting background helped her transition into writing and directing, something she saw possible after being on set for ‘Dear White People’ where she played Miko and saw her first female director.

“I thought ‘oh we could do this!’” she said. 

Christina initially started a GoFundMe page to help fund her project but only raised $500. She began to save money from her side hustle and worked a 9-5 job to help pay for equipment, the actors and post-production. As imagined, funding the film herself was difficult. Production slowed down and she could only shoot scenes some days. But that did not stop her from finishing the fim.

“I wanted to get the message out there,” she said, “to spread love within our community, but also reach other communities like Chicago and elsewhere.”

Behind the scenes of South Central Love of Christina Cooper

Behind the scenes of South Central Love of Christina Cooper

Christina’s vision for the film is more than telling Davonte and Bria’s story. She wants to provide opportunities for undiscovered talented people. “There are people that have the talent but are not discovered yet, and I want to provide them with an opportunity like I am providing opportunities for myself too,” she said. Christina said she couldn’t see everyone, but one of the actors stood out. He made his friends tag him on Instagram for Christina to see his work and provide him with an audition. “If they are putting that much work to get seen and are that persistent, then I want to give them an opportunity,” Christina said.

‘South Central Love’ premiers Friday, August 9 at the Downtown Independent Theatre. It will also be screening at AMC Del Amo, LAEMMLE Fine Arts Theatre, Cinemark Baldwin Hills Theatre, AMC Tamiami in Florida, AMC Camo Creek in Atlanta, Georgia and Mississippi. You can purchase tickets at SouthCentralmovie.com and support this fresh cast and hustler working to break barriers in the industry. 

‘South Central Love’ is qualifying for an Academy Award nomination. If nominated, Christina will be the youngest director to be nominated. 

The theme of community in her film goes beyond the story and into South Central. “I know a lot of kids in urban communities have a lot of creativity in them and sometimes they don’t even know it or care to find out because they can’t afford studio time or afford acting classes,” she said. Christina hopes this film is the beginning of more opportunities, not only for her but for her community too as she hopes to open up classes for young people who want to enter the entertainment industry in the future. 

Buy your movie ticket here: https://www.southcentrallovemovie.com/get-tickets

Christina Cooper and Jamal Henderson

Christina Cooper and Jamal Henderson

Estefani Alarcon