UHCL The Signal
The official student newspaper of the University of Houston-Clear Lake

Hurricane Harvey is returning as a Houston-based film


Local production company Street Corner Films is shooting a fiction-based movie to depict the events of Hurricane Harvey. The movie is set to premiere on the one-year anniversary of the storm.

Street Corner Films began production of “Harvey” Feb. 17, and it is slated to shoot in 21 days with an estimated budget of $20,000.

Producer and Casting Director Nkem DenChukwu is a Sugar Land resident and was impacted by Hurricane Harvey.

“As much as most of the characters in this film are fictional characters, their individual stories are reality-based,” DenChukwu said. “Many of us will relate to these characters’ experiences, and at the end learn a thing or two, and that we do not have to be blood relatives to be family.”

DenChukwu said that shooting in 21 days is tough but doable, and it can come with challenges.

“Just like in making motion pictures, one challenge is the schedule,” DenChukwu said. “And making sure there are no conflicts for the cast and crew. The schedule must work for everyone—to a certain extent, but most times we make sacrifices in order to make things work.”

Poster for the upcoming movie "Harvey." Photo courtesy of Chron.com. The Signal reporter Becky Shafter.
The poster for the upcoming movie “Harvey” shows Houston in the wake of the storm. Photo courtesy of Chron.com. The Signal reporter Becky Shafter.

Michael Sterling is the film’s director and executive producer, while Antrone Harris (“Drop Dead Diva”), April Grant, Cara Cochran and Tabitha Grant will star in the film.

Also cast are Houston residents and brothers, Sammy and Ric Saldivar, who will be playing themselves. The Saldivar’s lost six family members during Harvey. DenChukwu told Chron.com that they have the cooperation of the Saldivar family.

Harris will be playing the role of Cedric, a hard-working husband that loves his wife dearly. They lost everything during Hurricane Katrina, including someone close to them. To cope with their inner demons, they decided to move to Houston. In less than a year after their move, Hurricane Harvey hits, and it is a whole new experience for them.

“I was inspired to accept this role because my family and I are survivors too,” Harris said. “I still remember the water rising very high until it looked as if it was going to enter our home. That’s when I knew it was time to leave. We had to be rescued by my father and uncle in a 24-foot box truck.”

Cochran will be playing the role of Shaun, an eight-month-pregnant woman married to a man named Greg. Though she deeply loves Greg, her love is not always reciprocated.

“I love this character so much, but, because she has gone through a lot of struggle in the months leading up to Harvey, I have a great responsibility to portray her accurately,” Cochran said. “In terms of struggles for the movie as a whole, we have great responsibility to all of the survivors of Hurricane Harvey, and we want this to be accurate to their struggles.”

Street Corner Films posted a brief description of the movie on their Facebook page: A few weeks after Carla and her husband move to the third floor of Desmond’s Place Apartment Building, Tropical Storm Harvey is upgraded to a category four hurricane. Harvey is here to destroy, but cannot dampen that spirit of hope and oneness of the tenants at Desmond’s Place and communities at large. When the sun begins to make its way through those dark clouds, hope is renewed, and mercy comes. Carla and her neighbors bond in ways no one anticipates.

Cochran thinks people will believe this movie is a thriller.

“It is not. It is about the deeper movement that happened during Harvey,” Cochran said. “We became one as a community, and through this shared experience we all grew individually.”

Harris thinks this movie will mean a lot to many people because the city of Houston and the surrounding cities united and showed courage.

DenChukwu said that premiering “Harvey” on the August 2018 anniversary of Hurricane Harvey might be emotional for many, but it will also help remind Houstonians that they survived, and they are here.

“When hurricane Harvey struck, hate had no room in our hearts,” DenChukwu said. “Strangers became friends, and neighbors were no longer strangers. The color of our skin was irrelevant. Survival became our focus, and we were unified in love. With that, we won.”

DenChukwu said that they anticipate major cable networks will show interest in showing the film along with select theaters and streaming services.