Weekly Feature



2014-01-29 / Lifestyles

Film aims to STOP — not just raise awareness of — domestic violence

JENNIFER WATERS
Reporter


Brandyn Williams, director, writer and producer, is wrapping up his film “Scope of Practice,” an effort to end domestic violence. The film was shot mostly in Clarence with an entirely local cast and crew. Below right, Arlynn Knauff, actor, producer, production manager, and script supervisor, plays Emma, the abused girlfriend of star athlete Donny in “Scope of Practice.” Brandyn Williams, director, writer and producer, is wrapping up his film “Scope of Practice,” an effort to end domestic violence. The film was shot mostly in Clarence with an entirely local cast and crew. Below right, Arlynn Knauff, actor, producer, production manager, and script supervisor, plays Emma, the abused girlfriend of star athlete Donny in “Scope of Practice.” Many advocacy groups work to raise awareness about domestic violence. But local director and actor Brandyn

Williams had a more ambitious goal: making a film that would inspire action against such abuse. Williams, of BeWILdered Media, LLC, took his own and a cast member’s experience with domestic violence and created “Scope of Practice,” which aims to go beyond raising awareness.

The movie focuses on newly hired emergency medical technician Derek, who while on a call stumbles upon undeniable evidence that a woman is being abused by her boyfriend, who happens to be a beloved local sports celebrity. Against his superior’s advice, Derek takes the situation into his own hands.

“I wanted to make a movie about someone who is almost a tyrant. Someone who is well-loved in the community and despite what he does, the community can care less about it,” Williams said. “Someone like Derek was willing to do what no one had the guts to do, and that was to stand up to this guy who needed to be stopped.”

The character of Derek mirrors Williams’ own experiences in discovering someone close to him was abusing his fiancee.

He quickly realized he had limited options for solving the problem. Rather than handle the situation on his own, he decided to make a film about it, bringing the hurt and betrayal he felt to the big screen, relatable for all audiences.


Local actor Chris Barbis plays the role of emergency medical technician Derek in the upcoming film “Scope of Practice.” In the film, Barbis’ character sets out to help a woman being beaten by her boyfriend, a popular local athlete, when he sees that no one will get involved. Local actor Chris Barbis plays the role of emergency medical technician Derek in the upcoming film “Scope of Practice.” In the film, Barbis’ character sets out to help a woman being beaten by her boyfriend, a popular local athlete, when he sees that no one will get involved. While his projects in the past were meant for his own benefit and exposure, he said the objectives of this movie were different.

“Every film I’ve done up to this point has been a growing experience in genre,” Williams said. “This film wasn’t an experiment anymore. I want other people to be inspired by the film. Not by how these people react, but because it creates a dialogue to encourage people to do something about domestic violence.”

With experience from all aspects of filmmaking under his belt, Williams said he took on a great challenge to help make the movie raw and real.

“There was no budget for this film; it was all passion,” he said. “There was no professional backing. Just an effort of friends.”

Portraying an abuser and the abused was no easy feat either, requiring his cast to reach into the depths of an emotional topic many choose to avoid. The end result is proving to be effective.

“I’m pushing this film on domestic violence groups who have been blown away by how realistic the movie looks,” Williams said. “Made by a guy who experienced it firsthand.”

The film aims to give hope to those experiencing domestic violence and those who are witnessing violence toward others by inspiring courage and integrity in the face of a rising issue.

With shooting wrapped and editing under way, the next challenge for Williams is to get the film into theaters and festivals in Los Angeles, New York City, Toronto and, of course, Buffalo, by June. He has also been in contact with the “Dr. Phil” show for further promotion of the film.

Given that the movie was shot in the area and used the talents of local actors and crew, Williams said he has a strong support group to get his message out there.

Audiences can follow BeWILdered Media’s efforts on Facebook and Twitter, or visit www.kickstarter.com to view the trailer for the film.

email: jwaters@beenews.com

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