In 2019, local filmmaker Sam Ojo began work on “Alejandro,” a feature film created by Tulsans, shot in Tulsa and packed with local talent.
“It is the people of the city who will lift the city up and to the greatest heights,” says Ojo, who produced and stars in “Alejandro.” “I want to be part of those who genuinely want good things for Tulsa.”
“Alejandro” recounts the story of a Mexican man, Alejandro (Joshua Pineda), who is accused of murder and, in a random act of kindness, is represented pro bono by defense lawyer Lucas (Ojo). The film has religious inspiration from various biblical figures and, according to Ojo, is based on a true story once told to him by a retired lawyer.
Principal photography wrapped in September, a process Ojo says was difficult, not least of all due to COVID-19. Out of caution around the virus, one of the film’s original cast members stepped down, and the privately funded production faced financial challenges, too. According to Ojo, the Tulsa Office of Film, Music, Arts and Culture helped the crew develop a safe method and schedule for filming, and it provided some of the personal protective equipment used on set.
Though the film is Tulsa-centric, it wasn’t planned originally as a stateside project. When the idea came to Ojo in 2017, he was hoping to film it in Nigeria, and indeed some locations from the country appear in the film. Ojo explains how personnel from the Nigerian film industry helped in crafting the screenplay and introduced him to Emmanuel Ndejito, director of “Alejandro,” once it was relocated to Oklahoma.
“Alejandro” premieres May 28 at Circle Cinema, 10 S. Lewis Ave. Visit circlecinema.com for showtimes and tickets.