Scores of guests filed into Palace Cineplex inside Sovereign
Centre in St Andrew on Monday night to catch the premiere of From Yard — a series based on the autobiographical novel Yardie by Jamaican David G Heron.
Heron was nothing short of excited for the first of eight episodes of his story to hit the big screen.
"It's about my life… leaving Jamaica and coming to America as a young kid [at just] 14 [years old], where I thought the streets were paved with gold, and when I got to America the streets were not paved with gold. There were drug addicts, homeless people, and I was very traumatised by it. I wanted to come back home. I could've gone to jail, and I almost did as a matter of fact. I had this cousin who came over illegally and was always trying to influence me, but I got out of it and I was able to turn my life around and ended up being somewhat successful," Heron told the Jamaica Observer at the premiere.
Fort Clarence in St Catherine, as well as several Corporate Area locations, were used in the film. Earlier scenes were shot in Atlanta.
The series was produced by Leland and Phaedra Benford through Cupcake Rapture Studios in Atlanta, with Heron serving as executive producer.
Monday's premiere was a charity fund-raiser for the BAM MOMS Club.
Laughter and cheers were the responses from the audience as the onscreen action unfolded. Of course, the biggest indication of enjoyment was the cultural relatability of the plot.
The series came about in an unexpected way, Heron explained.
"When I came back to Jamaica in about 2010, it was like coming back to my roots, because it was like, 'Wow!' I was able to exhale… I was home. I started keeping a journal and then I came back to the States and it was in my suitcase… A year later I started reading everything and I said, 'This could be a book, you know.' So I decided to self- publish. My nephew, who is the screen writer, said, 'Uncle David, I got to turn this into a screenplay,' and he wrote the screenplay… here we are," he said.
The diverse cast of mostly Jamaican actors includes Miranda Melhado, Shevrado Oliver, Glen "Titus" Campbell, David Heron (not to be confused with the story's author David G Heron), Joe Herrera, Darron Donaldson, Adam Christian, Claire Dennison, and Chaun Archer.
Heron further explained that the team is open to investors to help with the success of the series.
"We're just concentrating on doing the pilot, then hopefully the pilot gets picked up by a streaming platform and then once we get funding or investments we will continue to do the other episodes," he said.