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The Flight of Calvin Waters

story telling films writing

The Flight of Calvin Waters with laurels

The Flight of Calvin Waters was the first independent film written and directed by Andrew Colom. The story is loosely based on the death of Billey Joe Johnson in George County, MS. You can read more about his story on the link below. The short narrative film was shot in Columbus, MS in 2010. The film was shot with all local actors and it was the debut performance for the lead actor. 


The film wove the inflection point of ambition for a young athlete into the myth of Icarus and Dadeulus. The film uses southern themes of religion, interracial dating, police violence and intimidation to present a story of what happens when a person and a people fly too high to the sky in a world that is set to trap them. 

I made ‘The Flight of Calvin Waters’ to honor the life of Billey Joe Johnson, but I didn’t want to make an easy film that only shone the light of victimhood onto his person. I imagined him as a confident kid, someone expecting the world to continue to reward his talents, and someone brought face to face with a harsh reality. I imagined him in his full humanity. Being a first film by a first time writer and director, the film is no masterpiece. However, despite some filmmaking errors and weaknesses, I believe there is a compelling narrative at the heart of this story.

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