Hustler. Not to be mistaken for mainstream images such as Larry Flynt’s brand, Supa Fly or your neighborhood supplier, Detroiters are hustlers by nature. Take a look at the local unemployment rate compared to the national average and many are baffled on how the people here can still afford a decent living, full of entertainment and a lil’ glam. But that’s on paper. When you’re a real hustler, you do it because you want to, not because you have to. Hustlers put the pieces together within their resources and make it work for them. That’s what Donnie did as a ten year old child, first being a paperboy, and then an ice cream truck operator. Not only was he selling ice creams at 10 years old, but was also a business owner, and with his next door neighbor, a Jamaican born fellow who agreed to be a paid driver for the underage Donnie, they split the profits. How many inner city kids did you know in the Eighties boasting a legitimate $200/week knot in their pockets?
Fast forward to today and you can begin to understand why Dionciel “Donnie” Armstrong is the writer, director, producer and executive-producer of the new film, “Five K One”. Approached with deals from a few movie houses, Armstrong chose to keep the film independent and straight to DVD because he knew he could market it better than anyone. As an independent-film maker, he also knows how to stay in his own lane to get the project complete--from the beginning to the finish line. “Many people don’t know this, but we had to stop filming—everybody got fired. And we were about 75% complete with the film,” Donnie said after he described how his entire crew got let go for various reasons, the primary one being for simply not “doing their job” and not having a vested interest in the goal of the project. He means business, and it’s apparent by his endeavors with partner Paul Britt III in Royalty Records and Mind Vision Productions. When Armstrong isn’t wearing the “Director’s hat”, his film company is still involved with major projects in the industry such as when he rented his equipment and cameras to major filmmakers for use during movie blockbusters like “Transformers”. Mind Vision Productions also shot the footage for comedian Mike Epps’ 2009 hit comedy standup, “Under Rated & Never Faded-Live from Detroit!” a special appearing on the cable network, Showtime.
“Five K One” stars Forty Da Great, Clifton Powell (Street Kings, Next Friday, Ray), Melvin Jackson, Jr. (The Wire, Everybody Hates Chris), A.J. Johnson (Friday, Menace II Society, Def Comedy Jam) and national recording artist, Yukmouth. The “Five K One” DVD, distributed by Select-O-Hits, will be available at Best Buy and FYE stores nationwide beginning January 19, 2010. Local Mom & Pop stores will also carry the movie, making it affordable and accessible to everyone. The “Five K One” book, cleverly marketed to many including inmates, features the movie script along with photos of scenes from the movie.
“Five K One’s” title is derived from the policy statement number of an actual United States Sentencing Commission guideline “5K1.1 -Substantial Assistance to Authorities.” The movie’s concept, based on personal situations and from a myriad of elements from various life stories encountered by Armstrong, is not based upon a true story. Based in and shot entirely in Detroit, the movie isn’t entirely about “snitching” as the federal guideline suggests, rather how Armstrong explains, “It’s about friends who are in the streets that go through a few things with each other.No matter how many times people say it, [that you can trust them], you can’t trust the streets…trust no one.”