Boiling Pot bubbles with racial tensions

Courtesy of MCT

Courtesy of MCT

The story starts with a young black man being dragged through a wooded area after a vicious beating, which culminates in his lynching death by four university students.

He is then left to hang as a morally reprehensible sign of the times.

Yet, this hate crime did not take place during the civil rights era,or during the time of slavery in America.

The setting is 2008 and the movie is called Boiling Pot.

An indie film directed, produced and co-written by Omar Ashmawey about the toll that racism has on the everyday American citizen.

Omar and his brother, Ibrahim, whom is also producer and co-writer of the film, managed to secure some major talent by casting actors such as M. Emmet Walsh (Blade Runner), Louis Gossett Jr. (An Officer and a Gentleman), Danielle Fishel (Boy Meets World), Davetta Sherwood (The Young and the Restless) and Sayed Badreya (Iron Man).

The synopsis to Boiling Pot is simple: the story of modern racism has no protagonist or antagonist.

The people involved in the film have both good qualities and bad, and once a person is pushed to a certain point, their actions could bring out a primal instinct of discrimination and prejudice.

The main plot of the story was created by the Ashmawey brothers in 2010 and is meant to take an honest look at the multiple views of racism and the lack of communication due to social stigma.

“I think the first step to solving any problem in society is to admit that it’s there, recognizing that it exists,” said Omar Ashmawey. “That’s the biggest problem that we have today; people don’t recognize that racism is still a thing.”

The basis of the movie is told through many character’s perspectives.

Both Ashmawey brothers were adamant in mentioning that each character has formed some type of bias or prejudice based on their personal upbringing and environment.

“I think it has to do with upbringing and society as a whole,” said Ibrahim Ashmawey. “We may know that racism is bad and on the outside you’re acting like it, but if you’re put in a situation where you’re attacked by someone in a different race: deep down inside something bad is going to come out.”

Fishel plays Valerie  Davis, whom Fishel herself describes as a representation of the average white person who typically fails to both deal with and comprehend the racial tensions of society.

Fishel says her character is naive to racial tensions and the fact that racism still exists.

“Over the course of the movie she finds herself in certain situations where she’s feeling the effects of racism, she’s engaged to a man who is Egyptian and so she feels (racism) from her family and she feels it from other people on campus,” said Fishel.

She also comes face-to-face with some of her own racist ideas.”

Fishel also mentioned that she found many connections between herself and the character of Valerie Davis, since she is not typically the victim of racism.

However, Fishel agrees that it is important for everyone to realize that they have social and racial biases and how important it is to overcome them.

“I think it’s important to have self awareness,” Fishel said. “I think being self aware means being able to take an honest look at yourself and some of the racial biases that you have.”

While the plot of the movie plays a serious tone, the production of the film has had a more lighthearted atmosphere.

There was a high level of camaraderie between the cast and crew.

Actor Emmet Walsh handed out 1943 silver pennies and $2 bills (a tradition that Walsh has been doing supposedly for decades).

“I truly believe that I have the best crew in Hollywood. Period,” said Paul Salmons, director of photography for the film. “When you get to do what you love and send a message through film, there’s nothing more you can ask for.”

Salmons mentioned a day when surprise rain would have normally ruined or destroyed lighting equipment.

The entire cast and crew helped by moving the lights and placing sandbags to prevent water damage.

“It’s like no other set I’ve worked on before,” Salmons said.

Though the movie is still in production, the Ashmawey brothers are hoping to play the film in theaters as well as entering the movie in various film festivals.

Visit Facebook.com/boilingpotmovie for more information, production photos and contacting the crew.

About Raymond Mendoza