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Baton Rouge-filmed ‘Chances’ story of hope after gun violence trauma will debut at Celebrity Theatres on August 19th

Aug 10, 2023 | Feature Films, Louisiana Filmmakers, Louisiana Productions

Chances (2023) film still

A local man was taken to an area hospital last night with gunshot wounds to the torso in a suspected gang shooting. The unidentified man is stable and expected to survive. It is unclear at this time if the victim will choose to re-evaluate his life and change course from a path of certain self-destruction. 

That’s not quite how the news releases go. Gunshots echo off the neighborhood windows, someone dies, and the community experiences the quiet grief and altered nervous systems of collective trauma. 

Director and New Orleans native Scott R. Sullivan has chosen to tell a story about this underrepresented facet of gun violence with his latest feature film, Chances. Not the bodies in the street, not the immediate aftermath, but the aftermath of the aftermath. The choices one must make following a life-changing tragedy seem more difficult than simply dying. The logline of Chances looks like this:

In the aftermath of a brush with death, Kevin is given an opportunity to avoid possible jail time by entering a new therapy program. What seems like an easy way out, turns out to be exactly the opposite as Kevin faces his biggest obstacle, himself. With mounting pressures to avenge a rival gang’s blatant disrespect competing with his inner journey, Kevin navigates treacherous dilemmas and faces life-altering choices to fight a battle on the outside that he discovers can only be won within.

Chances (2023) film still

Sullivan spoke to us about developing a film about the struggle of residual trauma, and how this was channeled into Chances:

My writing process was more compelled than inspired on this particular project. I was compelled to write something that was slightly different from the tragic plots that occupy this genre. There’s a lot of stories about how things go wrong in the context of gang culture and gun violence, but there seem to be less stories about overcoming that kind of lifestyle. Moreover, there seems to be less discussion overall about the trauma experienced by both the individuals and communities that are plagued by violence. Taking it even a step further, the process of identifying and working through this type of trauma is territory we all need to explore. My hope while writing the script was that it would inspire someone who needs this to think differently or add to/amplify the kinds of conversations we ought to be having on this topic.

Chances (2023) film still

Chances was produced through Sullivan’s Celtic Studios-based production company Sulliscope Films. Sulliscope was founded by Sullivan in 2016 and he wrote, directed, and produced his first two features, Trigger Girl and Respect 4 Life, through the studio. According to Sullivan, Chances was about 95% filmed at Celtic Studios with the remaining scenes filmed around Baton Rouge. The film was produced with an entirely local Baton Rouge film crew.

Beyond what an audience sees on-screen and what the actors portray in front of the camera, it can be easy to overlook the impact a story has on the crew behind it. Sullivan spoke about the emotional effect of filming Chances:

There were quite a few of us on the cast and crew that have had personal experiences with gun violence or other forms of violence. It made the hefty scenes difficult from an emotional and psychological standpoint. It also served as a reminder that these types of stories are never purely fictional. Our film drama is someone else’s real-life horror story and reverence for that fact is a requirement. But, ironically, those difficult scenes also set the process of catharsis into motion for some of us. Filmmaking can be a powerful activity.

Chances (2023) film still

Chances will have its world premiere in Baton Rouge at Celebrity Theatres – Baton Rouge 10 on Saturday, August 19th. The doors will open at 6:30 p.m. with a red carpet opportunity and the film will begin at 7:10. Chances is for mature audiences but anyone with a teenager is encouraged to bring them along. 

Get your tickets in advance here on the Celebrity Theatres website.

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