New Orleans Native Makes Director-Producer Debut in the Independent Short Film

Joe Willie's Friend is the story of two best friends who grow up together in a working class neighborhood and go off in two different directions. Michael goes off to the military and Darryl stays home and 'hangs out'. While Darryl is hanging out, he gets Michael's sister, Yvette, pregnant and he accidentally gets Michael's little cousin, Terence killed. Terence is Joe Willie's brother. It is the story of how these people deal with life's changes and the 'Battle For Forgiveness.'

Los Angeles, CA, January 14, 2006 --(PR.com)-- New Orleans native Wilson Bell makes his director-producer debut in, Joe Willie’s Friend. Bell also wrote and performs in WBJR Films’ 18-minute short dramatic film.

Joel Eisenberg, author of Aunt Bessie’s How To Survive a Day Job While Pursing the Creative Life, asserts, “Joe Willie’s Friend is an achingly beautiful, heartfelt story of love, loss and relationships. Wilson Bell’s stunningly crafted tale and poignant performance will bring a tear to the eye. It is remarkable what he has accomplished. There is more emotion, ability and control exhibited in this short film than most studio features. He is a talent to watch.”

Joe Willie’s Friend tells the story of two childhood friends whose lives go in different directions upon completing high school. A tragic death occurs later on that tests the bonds of their relationship, and forces the grown men to explore the meaning of forgiveness and redemption.

The film’s two main characters are Darryl and Michael. Bell, who plays the role of Darryl, portrays the friend who chooses to “hang out” in the old neighborhood, while his friend Michael matures into a responsible adult after joining the military. While Michael is away serving his country, Darryl impregnates Michael’s sister out of wedlock, and causes the unintentional death of Michael’s younger cousin Terrence, through a drug overdose.

Terrence’s older brother is the film’s namesake, Joe Willie, who suffers a mental collapse brought on by the internal guilt of not protecting his younger brother---the family’s “star child.” Joe Willie becomes a social outcast due to his unkempt appearance and erratic behavior, as he is seen walking aimlessly down the street dressed in a oddly dressed.

Wilson Bell recalls that the idea for his passionate short film Joe Willie’s Friend was born some 15 years ago, when he was an employee of Southwestern Bell in St. Louis and pursuing a career in theater on the side. A play he wrote called Make a World of Difference, Dream gave the audience a chance to see how each of the character’s vision for their future impacted not only their own individual lives, but also the lives of the people around them. At the time that he was writing the play, a Biblical proverb kept coming into his head. “Without a vision, the people perish.”

Having grown up in the Lower Ninth Ward and Fisher Housing Projects in New Orleans, Bell easily understands people who are complicated and complex. Here, burdened by seemingly insurmountable obstacles, people easily lose sight of their dreams, just to survive. Wilson took to heart the words of the proverb to heart. “I wanted to share the importance of this proverb with others, while at the same time I was working out something for myself. It’s not that I didn’t have dreams – I had dreams that weren’t being fulfilled and I felt like I was perishing.”

Bell is a 1982 graduate from McDonogh 35 Senior High School, and received his Bachelor of Science degree in Computer Science from Loyola University of New Orleans in 1986. Bell also completed all the required course work towards a Master’s Degree in Dramatic Literature at Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri. Bell has a number of televison credits including NYPD Blue, Frasier, and Angel. He has also performed at the Adelaide Theater Festival in Australia, and was nominated for “Best Actor” at the 1995 Edinburg Festival of Scotland.

Bell found his artistic inspiration through the lives of those around him. It is that same motivation that continues to drive Bell today as an actor, writer, director and producer. “I am determined to make my dreams come true, and I believe God will transform these dreams in to realities,” says Bell from his Hollywood apartment.

See the official trailer of Joe Willie’s Friend, please visit the website: http://www.wbjrfilms.com.

Wilson Bell
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