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Watch 7 Minutes Of Russ Parr's "The Under Shepherd" Starring Isaiah Washington + Official Synopsis

by Tambay A. Obenson
January 18, 2012 11:26 AM
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Out initial profile of this film last fall sparked quite a frenzy in the comments section - so much that the director Russ Parr and star Isaiah Washington, both jumped into the conversation to challenge primarily the naysayers. 

And it was all inspired by a 1-minute clip from the film which no one has seen yet, save for the film's crew and likely cast, as well as the festival directors who've screened it for consideration (it'll debut at the Pan African Film Festival next month by the way, as I've already announced in previous posts).

But that's good, isn't it? A snapshot of a film generating some much dialogue/debate. It bodes well for its future I'd say. So score one for Russ Parr and company.

Its official premiere just a few weeks away at the PAFF (where I should be when it happens), a 7-minute preview of scenes from the film has surfaced, and we have the longer synopsis which reads:

Best friends LC and Roland are two young, ambitious ministers, climbing the ranks at the First Baptist Church. Coming up under the leadership of Dr. Ezekial Canon, the church's elderly pastor, Roland and LC have dreams of becoming the predecessors of the aging pastor. But, the feeble Dr. Canon stubbornly refuses to step-down, forcing the two young ministers to make pivotal decisions that ultimately fray the fabric of their deeply-woven friendship.

The The Under Shepherd, produced by Melee Entertainment, Swirl Films, and UpToParr Productions LLC, stars the aforementioned Isaiah Washington, as well as and Lamman Rucker, Louis Gossett Jr., Elise Neal, Clifton Powell, Malinda Williams, Vanessa Bell Calloway, Keith David and Robinne Lee.

I'm just as blind as you are when it comes to what to expect from this; a few folks who are more in-the-know more tell me it's a solid piece of work, dark and moving, and I'm looking forward to seeing it.

But in the meantime, watch the series of clips in the player below for a sample of what to expect:

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  • artrice brand | July 4, 2013 12:09 PMReply


  • Mikidada | April 1, 2013 2:46 AMReply

    Watched this movie last night or rather this morning ( Happy Resurrection Day fellow Saints!!) and am I glad I did. It is "off the hook"!!. The cast of mostly Black actors/ actresses were absolutely amazing and showcased their talents for a stellar performance. For anyone raised in a typical Black Baptist church (or any other Black church) the issues presented were difficult to watch, as the "seven deadly sins" were well represented. But the behavior during and the end results of practicing those deadly sins was the real the reason why anyone watching this film will find their own personal message. Mr. Washington was really superb as the "minister" and the overall "WOLF IN SHEEP'S CLOTHING" character; he acts, reacts and attacks the entire cast to the point that I wanted to jump thru the tv screen and kick his butt all the way to way ticket, no return fare. Check this movie out, it was on either the BET or TVOne network. Thanks for the voice. Go with God, be safe and be saved.

  • JesusIsLord | October 9, 2012 7:43 PMReply

    Where can i watch this movie?

  • Donella | January 18, 2012 6:09 PMReply

    My goodness. The cast is a dream. I'll definitely watch this.

  • Zeus | January 18, 2012 12:50 PMReply

    Clips look interesting. I would check this out. Isaiah Washington is a BEAST of an actor.

  • MsWilliamsWorld | January 18, 2012 12:20 PMReply

    Whew, Isaiah Washington is sexy... Whoooweee... Not like, here--just--in GENERAL. LOL...

  • Vanessa | January 18, 2012 12:18 PMReply

    I'm very much looking forward to this. I don't recall seeing corruption in the Black Church explored on film; intrigued.

  • Mark | January 18, 2012 11:39 AMReply

    Looks great.


    I think someone meant "successors" and not "predecessors." ;-)

  • Darkan | January 18, 2012 11:36 AMReply

    Nothing in those clips made me want to see the film. I can literally go to church and see that stuff for free and watch the scandals online. Smh.

  • CareyCarey | January 18, 2012 10:29 PM

    @ DARKAN, man... you know I still love ya. You know you are one of my main man's man. I have a few favorites on this board and you are right up in the middle. Keep doing what you do. We will not agree on everything. If we did, somebody would be telling a lie or faking and shakin'.

  • CareyCarey | January 18, 2012 3:54 PM

    But Darkan, the point I am trying to make is, you can't vilify Mr Parrs movie on the sole pretense that "this stuff is happen everyday in many churches". Sex happens every day. So does violence, love and parenthood. Get my point? Look at the clips again, there's a heap of dynamics going on. And, I might add that there appears to be decent acting. Look at the first scene. Do you know, or can you figure out what's going on? What about the conflict back in the Pastors Chambers? Btw, have you ever sat in a pastors meeting? There's some thick stuff going on in there - wouldn't you say? And lord knows there's a back-story behind Isaiah Washington and the dude he had the shoving match with. Tensions WERE high. It could be a woman thang, a money thang, a difference in religious philosophies or a combination of thangs. Then, when Isaiah tapped Vanessa Bell Calloway on her small breasties, what was that about? Not to mention there's some old school star power up in this flick. Man, come on now, there appears to be loads of suspense, conflict and who done it. So much so that to say you've seen this all before (in one place) is surely missing the point. Again, I was raised in The Black Church, but I ain't never seen anything remotely akin to what took place in that 7 minute clip. Tell me you've seen a pastor "kidnap/hi-jack" the pulpit while another one is preaching? Come on, I dare you to say you've seen a pastor jabbing a woman's left boob before he walked out to preach? Don't get me wrong, I know a few pastor who have "tore their eye". Translation: They were playing around with another man's honey pot. But this film seems to have a new twist on God vs The Devil, Adam & Eve and power. But, you've probably seen all of this before since you got that nifty youtube connection, huh? Heck, with that new space-age technology, why pay money to see any film on subjects that you already know about? All you have to do is click and read. Forget about art and entertainment. Who cares about the art of telling a new and different story. Why should anyone spend their money to see a few great black actors do their thang?

  • Darkan | January 18, 2012 1:44 PM

    Come on Carey. I'm not gonna get into listing all of the crazy drama MANY of our black preachers go through. Don't have the time. But it's public and anybody else out there knows what I'm talking about. Besides, Eddie Long still has drama going on so that's current. Anyway, here's a current one for you:
    And this is one that didn't make too much noise:
    Plus all of the countless ones that don't make the news everyday.

  • CareyCarey | January 18, 2012 1:30 PM

    Sure Darkan, you most definitely have the right to criticize a film. Nevertheless, it goes without question that your comment suggested much more than you ultimately came back to defend. But my biggest complaint and/or concern is in the ambiguity of your comment. I mean, your a filmaker, so I know you would like for others to be specific when criticizing your work, wouldn't you? Besides, you capitalized the word "Many" as if implying MOST, or a large number, to which you cannot justify. Look, after all you said, you still reached in the bag of gossip and old news to find an old story "Eddie Long". This was after you capitalized the word "MANY"... THREE TIMES! Come on Darkan, we've been doing this a long time and I enjoyed your work ("film") but you can't run the old flim-flam on ol' CareyCarey today. :-) Sheesh

  • Darkan | January 18, 2012 12:45 PM

    Yes Carey, I go to church. Yes Carey the behavior happens in MANY churches. Not ALL but MANY. Yes I have seen films similar to this. The Gospel and others that had limited release or went straight to dvd have touched on similar themes. No I wasn't knocking the film I just said I wasn't interested in the theme so I don't have to give an opinion on the quality of the film work or the acting, etc. Yes there are scandals in the news if you haven't heard in MANY black churches. I see stuff popping up even on Bossip and Mediatakeout but for an example of most recent craziness... Eddie Long. Need I say more? And no I'm not displeased about the film it just doesn't interest me. Isn't that my right to not care for a film be it black or white? Sheesh.

  • CareyCarey | January 18, 2012 12:25 PM

    @DARKAN, what exactly is your complaint? I mean, you implied that you go to church "I can literally go to church" or are you assuming that the behavior displayed in these clips can be found in all black churches. If so, I believe - I know - you are highly mistaken. Nevertheless, what else is at the root of your displeasure? It is the acting, the dialog, the message, what? Seriously, you said you can see that "stuff" for free, but aren't you being awfully ambiguous? Come on now, what scandals have you seen recently that has you shaking your head. I am suggesting that you're not giving a true and honest assessment of Mr Parr's work, nor that of the actors. It appears your negative feelings on "church" and "church folks" are leading your unfair criticism. Again, do you even go to church? If not, is it wise to voice your opinion on subjects that you know little or nothing about? I mean, if a person's primary source of information and wisdom is received from the 10 o'clock news, I believe they might need to look around... and look a little deeper. But I will say I have seen pushing in shoving in the church. And, I have seen heated arguments in the pastors chambers (been there and done that) , but they are few and far between. So, in short, this film holds promise. I need to see a little more.

  • BlackBeauty | January 18, 2012 12:06 PM

    agree Darkan.

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