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Skye Dennis began his career in entertainment as an actor, but over the last few years, he’s delved more into the writing aspect.
Now, the West Chester Henderson graduate’s first feature film, “Murder City Angels,” will be released on Feb. 9 as video on demand through Verizon FiOS, Comcast, Dish Network and Direct TV, and also the popular Amazon Instant Video and Xbox.
“It’s about the journey of a man’s redemption as he’s trying to clear his name from a robbery he didn’t commit,” Dennis said. “It tackles love, betrayal, drug addiction and the family dynamic between a grandson and his grandparents, a man and his fiancé and his kids.”
Dennis’ partner, and the one who financed the film, is legendary Coatesville native Rip Hamilton.
The film, which was original called “Myra’s Angel,” was written in an astounding 30 days by Dennis.
“We knew we wanted to start shooting the film before winter, so I had 30 days to write the film,” Dennis said.
Not only is the movie exciting for Chester County because its writer, producer and director is from here, but that he also used the area for filming.
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“The majority of it was shot in Coatesville,” Dennis said. “Being from this Chester County area, a lot of businesses and the local government and municipalities, schools and families are all supportive and let me use their establishments. They want to support their own and they believe in what I’m doing. That has been a blessing.”
People may not remember seeing this happening, though, as everything happened back in 2013.
“I would like to thank Chief (Joseph) Friel, the City of Coatesville, Chief (Jack) Laufer, who gave me police cars, ambulances and blocked off streets for me,” Dennis said.
On top of the local aspects already going on in the movie, Dennis also hired local actors and actresses.
These entertainers aren’t some unknown performers, either, as many will recognize them from other films or on television shows.
“I pretty much used the who’s who of Philadelphia,” Dennis said. “I was fortunate to have worked with a lot of them throughout my early productions.”
One of the actors was in “The Wire” and two were in “Creed.” Others have been in “House of Cards,” “Ray” and the “Dukes of Hazzard.”
“A lot of the productions that come into Philadelphia bring talent from outside the area,” Dennis said. “They only give local actors very small parts. Once of the things I wanted to do was use all local talent and show that there are a lot of talented people in the area and hopefully Hollywood and other people will recognize it.
“I’m also hoping that some individuals see somebody like myself and realize it’s something they can do, too. I came from the some neighborhood they did. I grew up on the same block as their mom, dad or uncle.”
By using a location such as Coatesville, Dennis is trying to also show a different side of the city.
“Coatesville gets a bad reputation,” he said. “Everybody talks about the robberies, the shootings and the school stuff, but there are some good things that come out of there. They opened up the city – Valley Township, South Coatesville, Wagontown. It was a community film. Everybody opened up their arms to me.”
Dennis won’t be slowing down after the release of “Murder City Angels.” In fact, he’s currently working on a sitcom.
In March, “Murder City Angels” will be available on Redbox and 60 days later, it will be on Netflix. It will eventually go worldwide as well.
“This is my first film,” Dennis said. “It feels good, but still a little stressful. I’m hoping it’s received pretty well. This is an ultralow budget film. This film is not going to be like ‘The Revenant’ or like one of the larger-budget films because there are some things where we had to utilize what we had. I’m hoping people will like it and people will be proud of it.”