The tragic death of a screenwriting mentor is driving a Sheepshead Bay High School teacher to do everything he can to finish a stalled movie project that he has poured his soul into. The New York Daily News is reporting that Keith Black, a math teacher, has started a crowd-funding initiative to realize his dream and honor his deceased friend.
Black’s fallen friend, Mark Troy, was a Hollywood screenwriter who died at the age of 51 from meningitis. According to Black, Troy believed in his work and co-wrote his script. The Daily News described their relationship and the sacrifices Black made to make the project:
“He was more than someone just writing the script,” Black said of Troy, with whom he worked primarily over the telephone to finish the screenplay over a period of two years. “He would do anything to make me succeed. He believed in Keith Black 100%.”The finished product so impressed the accomplished cast members, Black said, that they agreed to work for next to nothing.
Black — who sold off his prized comic book collection and dipped into his retirement savings to pour $70,000 into the movie — grudgingly abandoned the project about a year ago with little more than a quarter of the movie in the can.
But then, this past May, Troy suddenly died of meningitis at age 51.
“Him passing reawakened my dream and his dream to get this movie on the big screen,” said Black. “I got the momentum back. I gotta do it for me. I gotta do it for Mark.”
As evidenced in the trailer above, the cast includes some famous actors including Mickey Rooney, Renee Taylor and Dick Cavett. While 25 percent of the movie had been shot before production got shut down, Black plans to scrap that footage and start over because several of the actors have died and because Black has trimmed down his physique considerably.
According to Black’s crowdfunding page, he is looking to raise an ambitious $700,000 to finish the project. If you would like to contribute to Black’s project and donate to his cause, you can do so by clicking here.
Best of luck Keith.