The night Barack Obama won the 2008 presidential election, people took to the streets, celebrating the first African-American POTUS and what was arguably the peak of a storied history for blacks. In The Obama Effect, a new feature film focusing on the people who supported Obama's first election campaign (United Citizens made a documentary in 2008 under the same name and topic), you get to go back in time, before Obamacare, before the stimulus packages, before the bank bailouts, when the only sentiments that surrounded the future president were hope and change.
Like one of those Garry Marshall-directed Valentine's Day and New Year's Eve movies, The Obama Effect's cast is star-packed (Charles S. Dutton, Katt Williams, Meagan Good, Zab Judah). Some will see it as pro-Obama propaganda, but the plot line focuses on John Thomas (Dutton), an insurance salesman, who, after suffering a heart attack, decides to take up the most important cause of 2008: the presidential election.
What starts out as a nearly OCD desire to take up a cause - any cause - becomes a multi-dimensional story about politics, family, even health. At the same time,there's no getting around the title of the film. Thomas's actions in the movie are representative of many African-Americans at that time and how the possibility of seeing one of their own in the White House propelled them to action. Hence, The Obama Effect.
But, are African-Americans still supporting the president the way they did four years ago?
Emmy Award-winning actor Glynn Turman, who also stars in the movie, thinks so. "I know I do," he added.
"[The movie] is produced by a black company, starring black people about the first black president," Turman said. Turman, a cast member in Showtime's House of Lies opposite Don Cheadle, is Slim, a conniving boxing manager who comes between Dutton's Thomas and his son, rising boxer Jamel, played by real-time boxer (and feature film newbie) Zab Judah.
The Obama Effect, written and directed by Dutton (again) and produced by Barry Hankerson started shooting just after President Obama was elected to his first term and wrapped not too long ago - just in time for this year's election.
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There will be red carpet happenings in Chicago, Philadelphia, Atlanta and Houston. Turman will grace ours, Friday at 7:30 p.m. at AMC Studio 30, 2949 Dunvale.
Since the film was made during the Obamafrenzy of 2008, when campaign slogans like "Barack the Vote" and "Yes We Can" were caught and passed like electrical currents, it captures the spirit of the moment. "I think it will have a very positive effect," said Turman.
The Obama Effect premieres in theaters Friday, July 13. For more information, visit obamaeffectmovie.com. Check out the theatrical trailer below.