A book written by local kids debuts as a film Thursday at the Senator Theatre

Posted at 10:10 AM, Oct 10, 2018
and last updated 2018-10-10 19:26:14-04

The red carpet will roll out Thursday at the Senator Theatre for the premiere of The Tormentors, starring local teens and based on a book written by local students.

17-year-old Erin Bowman, who co-authored the book and stars in the film, bubbles with excitement when talking about the film.

“I know the premiere is just going to fly by so fast and I wish it could last forever,” she said.

Also starring in the film is 17-year-old Cordell Forbes. He’s also one of the authors of The Tormentors, as well as Isaiah Benjamin and Jermaine Powell Jr.

“I’m probably not going to go to sleep. I won’t know what to do with myself,” he said with a smile.

The Tormentors is about a group of bullies called The Rebels who pick on new kids to the school. Nikole is considered the peacemaker and tries to find a way to stop the bullying.

Bowman stars as Nikole in the film and wrote her character in the book.

“The character Nikole is close and dear to me, she’s kind of just like me as being home-schooled, I was home-schooled too.”

Forbes deeply connected to the book because he says he was bullied at his former school and watched it happen to other students.

“You have kids dying, committing suicide because they’ve been bullied kids. They don’t tell their parents and are scared to tell their parents because they feel they’re going make it worse,” he said.

For six months every Saturday last year, Forbes, Bowman and eight other students worked on writing three different books under the guidance and instruction of the Youth Writers Rock program.

“Youth Writers Rock is a program we developed to give youth a platform to creatively express their thoughts their ideas, fun things going on in their heads on written paper,” said Patricia Johnson-Harris, the CEO of the program. “We believe in the power of the pen.”

The students also wrote The Stem Detectives and The Super Adventure of the Red Balloon. All three books are available in local libraries and on Amazon.

The Tormentors did so well, Johnson-Harris pushed for it to be made into a small film. New Style Independent Pictures, based in Maryland, helped turn the book into a movie.

“The first time I saw it from beginning to end I didn't say a word but tears were running down my [face],” said Johnson Harris. "I'm so proud of them."

Youth Writers Rock teaches the kids seven pillars to writing a book, including character development, illustration and editing. Johnson-Harris says the kids also learn about collaboration and building confidence.

“We know that once the youth start writing, we can say ‘You guys rock! You wrote this whole book and you did it together.”

Both Forbes and Bowman say they would like to continue writing. Bowman says she and some other students with Youth Writers Rock will be working on the second part to The Tormentors this year.

“I’m grateful my parents enrolled me in the Youth Writers Rock program because now I can say I’m a published author and now I’m in a short film and the list just goes on,” she said.

The film is premiering on Thursday October 11 at 8 p.m. at the Senator Theatre on York Road. To purchase tickets in advance, click here. You can also purchase tickets on the night of the show.