Raleigh Police Officer Robert Wagner’s short film “Bragg ‘N East” debuted at the Living Arts College in North Raleigh Wednesday night to a crowd of more than 200 — including the chiefs of both the Raleigh Police and Capitol Police departments.
Wagner described the screening as a way of gathering feedback before final edits are made to the film, which will then be shopped around to a number of venues, including the Cannes International Film Festival.
Three years in the making and initially planned as a feature-length film, Bragg ‘N East was shortened to a running time of just under 30 minutes due to budgetary constraints. The total cost of production came in at just under $15,000.
The faith-based film, directed by local auteur Rob Underhill, tells the story of how a traumatic event brings together a veteran police officer and a hardened gang member seeking to improve the lives of those around them.
Kirstie Marx, whose husband, Richard Marx is a sergeant with the Raleigh Police Department, said she felt the film did an excellent job of capturing the stress that police officers endure in the course of their duty.
“I though it was great,” she said. “And I loved that it was faith-based.”
Her daughter, Emma Marx, shared her enthusiasm.
“It was a well-plotted storyline, very well done,” she said.
Steven Hinkle, another Raleigh resident in attendance, said he was impressed with what the film had managed to accomplish on such a small budget.
“It really piqued my emotional interest; I want to see more,” he said.
Wagner said he hopes to use the short as a way to drum up interest in developing Bragg ‘N East into a feature-length film or a television series.
Ethel James, whose son Moise’ Tabon starred in the film as Dae’Quan, a drug-dealing gang member, said she “loved it” – and not just because of her son’s involvement.
“I loved that the officer wanted to tell this story,” she said, adding that she appreciated the realistic portrayal of what life can be like in some of this country’s rougher neighborhoods.