What really matters: “Find A Way” is an inspiring story of life, family and strength

 By Braxton Rickert
Times-News correspondent

Illustration by Holly Damman / Times-News correspondent

“Appreciate life and those around you and make sure that what you deem important is important,” said Becky Gilbert, head of marketing and public relations at Cornelius Muller Productions LLC. That is the focus of the new movie “Find a Way” being made by the production company. They want to show that in the face of tragedy, there is an opportunity to realize what really matters.

 ”Find a Way” is a story about Billy “Smiley” Cane, played by Cranston Johnson, whose tragic death affects his family and the families of others in his community.

It is an inspiring tale about life, family and strength. At the spirit of this movie is the story of Harry Cohen, the Williams High School senior who passed away last August. Though the movie is not based on him, nor is it a biography, it was his spirit and impact that helped fuel this movie.

Producing, writing and starring in this film is Cornelius Muller, who has been working on this movie for a couple of years now. He plays Alan Whitfield, father of Smiley’s friend, Nick, and the coach of Smiley’s football team.

“Find a Way” was originally titled “The Devil’s Dog Food” and was about all the good effects that come out of a tragedy. The title “Find a Way” wasn’t chosen until after the Smiley character was added. “Find a Way” was Harry Cohen’s mantra going into the sports season, as well as one he lived in life. Muller hopes that this universal message will continue to spread throughout this movie.

Directing this movie is Burgess Jenkins, who played opposite Denzel Washington in “Remember the Titans.” Other major contributors and supporters of this movie are Dick Shirley, Brian Biggers and Joseph and Connie Book.

“The community has really come out to help this movie. Some people who have really helped it happen are the smart, capable students at Elon. They helped with all of the aspects I needed done, from lighting to sound, to even acting,” Muller said.

Other actors range from those who auditioned to those currently in training in the Burgess-run “Carolina Actors Group” out of Winston-Salem. Filming began this January and ended a few weeks ago.

The film is currently in post-production and is looking for support so it can go for a theatrical release. The cast and crew hopes it will send a message out there. Muller puts this message best:

“When you leave, people will not remember you for what you did, but for who you were. That’s what this movie is about. How someone’s death affects people. How they change their lives because of it, and become better people. They ‘Find a Way.’ ”

  Braxton Rickert is a senior at River Mill Academy and a Teens & Twenties writer.


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