For actor Marcus “Big Spence” Spencer, his biggest inspiration came on set of the movie “Four Christmases” filming with Vince Vaughn, the 6’5” leading actor and producer, who told him, “Once people see you as a lead, they’ll hire you as a lead.”
Big Spence took that and ran with it. Fast forward several movie roles later and the actor-turned-producer-turned-director premieres his first film “Set Me Free” at the Oakland International Film Festival.
Starring Big Spence, Alan Walker, Alphonso Thompson, and Skipper Elekwachi, the movie is about finding self-worth and learning to love oneself. It follows four boys as they grow up to become young men and struggle to deal with different issues such as fatherlessness, self-worth, self-confidence, and trust. Each character tries to find freedom from their poverty-stricken neighborhood.
Based on experiences from his own life, Big Spence says he wanted the movie to give insight to the issues that Black men go through, issues that usually stem from childhood.
“I’ve worked with kids that go through all these issues,” said Big Spence. “They don’t realize they’re in a certain kind of bondage to identify these issues. But once you identify them, then you have the power to fix them.”
The movie is produced by Big Spence’s company Touch the Heart Productions, which he started in 2010. The writer, director says he wanted to put a message in the film to “educate and entertain you at the same time.”
“I want people to be able to feel and get emotion from the film. With a lot of films, there’s no story, there’s no message. If I put messages in my films, I can use it as a teaching tool,” said Big Spence.
He has also written and produced two other movies under Touch the Heart Productions, “The American Dream” and “Milk Money.”
“I want to control the content that is put out because I have a certain message that I want to be out there,” he said.
For more information about the film, visit www.facebook.com/setmefreethemovie.