Photo: Contributed
Photo: Contributed

Dayton native stars in this independent film about the Underground Railroad

On April 19, Dayton Art Institute will roll out the red carpet at an event for native Bryant Louis Bentley, the lead actor in the independent film “All or Nothin’.”

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Bentley’s resume includes Jackie Robinson in “Most Valuable Player,” Walter Lee in “A Raisin in the Sun,” Gabriel in  August Wilson’s “Fences” and Emilio Estevez’s “The Public.”
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“Having acted in ‘Cincinnati 28,’ the stage play based on the same event, I was excited about being part of ‘All of Nothin’,’” said Bentley in a press release to this news organization. “The movie’s most-resonating message for me is that with faith in God and belief in self, you can do anything despite the conditions.” 

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“All or Nothin’” exposes the bitter truths of oppression, manipulation and misogyny inherent in American slavery. It also emphasizes teamwork, selflessness and triumph. The movie was filmed along the four-state route believed traveled during the 1853 escape, which included Cincinnati, Ohio. 

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In the 83-minute dramatization, John Fairfield, an Underground Railroad conductor, guides an enslaved group from a Boone County, Kentucky farm to Canada. At the same time, Washington Barker leads his wife and loved ones out of enslavement from a neighboring farm. The two men collide and then collaborate to lead 28 slaves to freedom. Based on true events, this epic adventure creates a realistic portrayal of the players—black and white, men and women—essential to executing the escape.

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The film’s editor Ben Devine speaks on how this project is different to others. “What I am most proud of about this project is that we have been given the opportunity to tell one of the most incredible historical events about the Underground Railroad. But not just a story regarding the hatred and violence that we’ve become accustomed to with this genre, but a story that focuses on the collaboration and sympathy between races, rather than the segregation. It’s a universal concept, and I believe the more positivity we can shed on this subject matter, the closer we as a society become whole.”

Photo: Contributed

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“The generosity of property owners, historians and descendants made this project possible,” said director Charles K. Campbell in a press release to this news organization. 

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Campbell worked tirelessly to capture authentic weapons, set, skiffs, music and wardrobe. “Slavery films seldom depict the harmony between seemingly opposing factions. Albeit entertaining, I structured All or Nothin’ to spark introspection, conversation and tools for inclusion and diversity programs.” said Campbell. 

The event will include photo ops, a movie screening and Q&A with the director and cast. 

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Want to go?

WHAT: “All or Nothin’” screening event

WHERE: Dayton Art Institute, 456 Belmonte Park N., Dayton

WHEN: Thursday, April 19 at 5 p.m.

COST: $20 

INFO: Call 937-223-4278

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