From Yard with love
David G Heron shoots pilot episode in Jamaica
David G Heron (Photo: Jonathan Holgate)

From Yard — a series based on the autobiographical novel Yardie by Jamaican David G Heron — wrapped up the three-day shooting of its pilot episode in Jamaica recently.

Fort Clarence in St Catherine, as well as several Corporate Area locations, were used in the film. Earlier scenes were shot in Atlanta in mid-January.

David G Heron, who migrated to New York in his early teens, says the series is written in flashbacks.

"When I came to America and all the things that happened. It was a culture shock for me. The series [eight episodes in total] will be based on other Jamaicans who've had similar experiences, basically the Jamaican immigrant story," Heron told the Jamaica Observer.

"I hope it will become an international success. I am hoping that people will relate to it," he continued.

The series is described as an immigrant urban drama that follows the life of the author from his childhood days growing up in Jamaica through his often-turbulent young adulthood in New York City as he struggles to find his own path amidst personal and professional challenges and tragedy.

The series is being produced by Leland and Phaedra Benford through Cupcake Rapture Studios in Atlanta, with Heron serving as executive producer.

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.

Leland Bedford, director and producer, shared his challenges working on the project.

"This project had its own challenges, but, for me, it was my Jamaican cast hearing me do patois. The project really fell into place quite early," said Bedford, a native of Detroit, Michigan.

"What I enjoyed most about working on this project is learning more about the Jamaican culture, the people, and the music. I let the cast and the crew who are Jamaican nationals dictate some of the decisions that I make. I wanted it to be authentic... This is not a regular script. It's a script compiled from real life memories. Some of the things in the book I could've beefed up for the audience. I wanted to be true to David G Heron's memories," he continued.

Adam Christian plays the teenage David G Heron in the series.

"When I got the role, I was really ecstatic about it. I never actually thought I'd get the role. I auditioned because I always wanted to be an actor. And I was pretty nervous at the audition, I had to do multiple takes over and over," said Christian, who attends the American International School of Kingston.

Shevrado Oliver, who has been making a name for himself locally in television productions and advertisements, described his role as challenging.

"It's been extremely challenging. When you're playing somebody who's real, while there may be some elements of fiction to the character, you still have to find a balance between the fictional and the real. You have to be true to David's personal experiences. I had to develop an accent, speak the way he spoke. It was fun," said Oliver.

"A lot of research was put into this role. I always wanted to be an actor because it's the only platform, I think, I can use to explore alternate realities," he continued.

Upon completion, the pilot of From Yard will be shopped to various cable networks and streaming platforms to secure a production deal for the remaining episodes of the show's first season.

David G Heron (left) and Jamaica Observer's writer Kevin Jackson (Photo: Jonathan Holgate)
Kevin Jackson

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