by Schondra Aytch ( photo of Henderson beneath the African American Heritage Corridor Archway by Cams Banks)
Buffalo-bred director, actor, and writer Addison Henderson is making waves in the movie industry. His first feature film titled Givers Of Death (or G.O.D for short) which premiered at the American Black Film Festival also won Best Screenplay last year at ABFF.
Now, inking a worldwide distribution deal for the apocalyptic, sci-fi drama with California-based production company Buffalo8, Henderson is preparing to release G.O.D in theatres next year.
“I’m very excited about what we have right now because not only am I gonna come to Buffalo, I’m gonna bring jobs to Buffalo, new opportunities for kids in Buffalo and hopefully we’re gonna inspire some folks,” Henderson exclaimed.
Filmed entirely in the Queen City, G.O.D tells the story of a hitman trying to gain redemption after a deadly pandemic kills a third of the world’s population. Also, tackling the idea of peace and what it means, Henderson’s work with the movie pulled from many of his own experiences.
“I was going through my own wasteland emotionally. My friends were sick. I was dealing with mortality. I was going through a divorce…It was just a tough time for me. So from that, [I] birthed this film. Tragedies, personal tragedies, but I wanted to use it as a way of a healing process for myself,” he explained.
Creating plays, documentaries, and short films for the past 20 years, Henderson’s unique work as a storyteller is deeply inspired by his father. The son of the late Bishop William H. Henderson who pastored the historic Michigan Street Baptist Church, the rising director’s love for stories comes from his father who was well-traveled and most notably spread awareness about his Baptist Church and its involvement in the Underground Railroad.
“My dad was 85 but he was a fighter, a battler…he left a tremendous legacy for me. He taught me everything I needed to be great…I hold that torch for him,” Henderson mentioned.
Also, doing a significant amount of traveling himself, Henderson’s connections particularly in New York and L.A. is pushing him to the forefront now. A former student of the world-renowned acting school HB studios, a longtime volunteer of the American Black Film Festival, and a close friend and teammate of Chadwick Boseman’s during movies like Black Panther and 21 Bridges, the breakout talent’s work is a result of years of dedication.
“When it was time for me to make G.O.D, [Boseman] went through a process with me, where I went back to L.A., sat with him and we were going through the notes on the script all while he was battling [cancer]. I’m truly blessed to have spent so much time with him,” Henderson added.
With G.O.D picking up momentum, the burgeoning creator is planning to bring more stories to the silver and big screen. Armed with written pitches for television shows, short films, and a strong foundation in his own production company Night Owl Republic Films, Henderson currently has his focus on a newly finished script for a sci-fi mystery he is working on with a major studio titled Blythe.
“They are very interested and we are under the impression that we are doing this movie next summer. When people see this movie – when people from Buffalo see this movie, they’re gonna be like ‘Holy Moly, this dude is Buffalo. He is so Buffalo!”