Straight Out of Brooklyn
is an 1991 independent film
directed by Matty Rich
in his directorial debut
. The film
is a gritty story about Dennis (played by Larry Gilliard Jr.
), an African-American
teen living in a housing project
with his sister, mother and abusive, alcoholic father. Fed up with his family's seemingly hopeless future, he plans with his friends to rob a drug dealer.
Rich wrote the screenplay
when he was 17. The film was made over a period of two years with an amateur cast working for free. Rich himself plays Dennis' friend, Larry. He financed much of the budget with credit cards and donations from family members. Rich also raised money by going on a New York City
radio station and asking listeners for donations. Listeners donated a total of $77,000. The total budget was $450,000. Upon release, the film was critically acclaimed and grossed $2.7 million at the box office. He was just 19 years old when the film was released.
At the 1992 Independent Spirit Awards
, Rich won the award for Best First Feature. George T. Odom was nominated for Best Supporting Male for his portrayal of the father. Composer Harold Wheeler
was nominated for Best Film Music.
The film won a Special Jury Prize at the 1991 Sundance Film Festival.