The genesis of the documentary film, MADMAN or MARTYR, originated with a
challenge by high school history teacher John Kenney. Luke Jaden, a student, rose
to meet the challenge which was to take him on a five month journey into the life
of ‘radical’ abolitionist John Brown and the history of abolition in Detroit in the
1830’s, 40’s, and 50’s.
If fact, John Brown transported 11 slaves along the ‘Underground Railroad’ to its
hub Detroit in 1859, just days before his raid on Harper’s Ferry in West Virginia.
Indeed, Brown and the ‘Railroad’ had an immense and profound influence upon
the City of Detroit.
For Luke Jaden working through the immense task of producing his film would
consume countless hours of fashioning and molding the research material, lining
up the extensive interview sessions with various experts in the field, as well as
working with the City of Detroit, which provided significant assistance to Jaden.
When asked, Jaden is quick to point out the idea for the title, “Madman or Martyr,”
“Popped into my mind” during an interview with a University of Detroit Professor.
The process of shooting and scripting the film was to be a ‘distillation’ in effect
which resulted in three scripts emerging. One was harvested from the in depth
interviews, another for the characters in the piece and a third for the narration,
performed by Detroit ‘Voice Artist’ and Actor, Ed Kelly, who also plays the role of
John Brown. More casting was in the offing and Jaden turned to Tim Holmes from
OZ, The Great and Powerful and to TV’s Prison Break with Phillip Edward Van
Luke has said the experience for him was life affirming and has cemented his
desire to continue to write, produce and direct motion pictures. Luke is also
extremely appreciative of all the help he has received, from the City of Detroit,
SAG-AFTRA, Magnetic Recording, an evocative score from the Winan’s Family
– to name but a few. There are many others to whom he is grateful.
Along the path Jaden has amassed a reservoir of contacts with whom he can
network as his career unfolds; but, the work continues and Luke Jaden is preparing
for the world premiere of his documentary film, MADMAN or MARTYR.
The gala will be held at the Charles H. Wright Museum of African American
History, 315 East Warren Avenue, Detroit on January 31st, at 6:00 PM. with a
Q&A to follow the showing. The director and some of the cast and crew will take
part. The event is open to all and is free of charge.
We invite you to make plans now to join us Friday evening, January 31st.