Documentary 'When I Grow Up' to premiere April 27 in Hot Springs

"When I Grow Up," a new documentary that focuses on the lives of three local young men who died at an early age, will premiere on April 27 at Hot Springs Central Theater.

Tennessee-based filmmaker Leticia Ross, who grew up in North Little Rock and directed the film, said it may not be what most people expect. Rather than focus on the legal side of these deaths, Ross said the movie is a celebration of their lives.

The film examines the lives of three young African-American men from Hot Springs, Rodney Brown, Derek Duvall and Colby Wilder.

Ross, who interviews the mothers of the three late men, said she decided to make the movie because "there are black men losing their lives."

The goal of the documentary, Ross said, is to make people realize that ending another person's life is never worth it. "Nothing you can tell me was worth taking a life," she said. Ross said Brown was killed over $60.

"People will take (lives) over foolish things," she said. "We have got to do better."

While talking to the mothers of these victims, Ross said she decided she didn't want to hear about the deaths and their aftermath. Rather than talk about what happened in the courtrooms, Ross wanted to hear memories about the men.

"Talk about the love you had for your son," she said she told the mothers.

While the film does focus only on deaths in Hot Springs, Ross said this is a wide-ranging issue. For example, she said she saw on the news that an 11-year-old was shot in front of the father.

She also said her film is not a negative portrayal of Hot Springs, calling the city beautiful.

To pay for this project, Ross said she worked as much overtime as she could. She said that if she has to work even more overtime to fund a follow up in a different city, then she will because she wants the violence to end.

A person who is killed at a young age "could have been the next judge, doctor, parent ... you don't know. They didn't have a chance to live life."

Ross said they intend to have a good time at the movie's premiere, and she wants it to be standing room only. She said the building can hold around 300 people and she wants 600 to show up.

People will be able to share their stories at the premier Ross said she was only able to fit three stories into the movie, but others will be able to share their stories at the event.

"We're going to have a good time," Ross said.

Following the premiere, Ross said she hopes to see the movie air on television.

Local on 04/07/2019

Upcoming Events