Independent filmmaker Choice Skinner is ramping up efforts to direct upcoming short film, Henry’s Courage, which he intends to shoot as a potential feature film pitch.
Aiming to crowdfund a February 2020 shoot, Henry’s Courage takes its cues from the historic, heroic tale of the Harlem Hellfighters, prolifically known as the first African American unit of the U.S. Army to engage in combat during World War I.
Actor Akono Dixon will tackle the key role of Henry Johnson, a black U.S. soldier who fought off a German raid in hand-to-hand combat while suffering numerous wounds. Johnson was recognized and awarded with a Croix De Guerre with star and bronze palm by the French and was the first U.S. soldier in World War I to receive that honor.
Dixon will be joined by actor Dalon J. Holland who will portray fellow U.S. soldier, Needham Roberts.
Henry’s Courage marks Skinner’s return to directing following his successful run with his spectacular DC fan film, Black Lightning: Tobias’s Revenge. The shortfilm, a paired effort between Skinner and actor James Moten Black, stirred festivals in 2017 and 2018, earning two awards including Best Fan Film at the fifth Urban Action Showcase in New York City.
“It’s been in my mind for several years.” said Skinner. “When I first heard about it. I couldn’t believe how many slave narratives and drug movies were being made, and yet this wasn’t made, let alone how unknowing folks are of this story. So just like with Black Lightning, I decided that i’m going to do it myself.”
Dixon’s recent credits include CW football drama, All American, HBO teen drama, Euphoria, and Craig Brewer’s upcoming Netflix dramedy, My Name Is Dolemite. He is penning the script and is producing alongside Holland whose recent appearances include CBS series, S.W.A.T., and Marvel’s Freeform series, Cloak & Dagger.
The project is also being backed by nationwide African American WWI history and reenactment collective, Ebony Doughboys, whose own historian and consultant, Art Collins will produce. Black will reteam with Skinner as part of his cinematography team along with Chase Baker.