'The Refractor' written, directed, produced by Youngstown's Kwai Daniels


By GUY D’ASTOLFO

dastolfo@vindy.com

YOUNGSTOWN

“The Refractor,” a movie about a crime-fighting superhero that was written, directed and produced by Kwai Daniels of Youngstown, will get its premiere tonight at Movies 8 in Boardman.

Daniels, who also plays the title role, has scheduled a red carpet opening-night ceremony at the multiplex theater on U.S. Route 224 beginning at 7:30 p.m. The film will be screened at 9 p.m. All tickets have been sold.

“The Refractor” was shot and edited over the past 18 months at various locations in downtown Youngstown and nearby. It’s about a crime-fighter with super strength who takes on a group of mobsters who are muscling their way into the city.

It’s the first feature-length film for Daniels, who owns DP Visual Media, a production company that makes commercials and videos.

The Refractor is a superhero of sorts. He is a steelworker who acquired super strength – equal to four or five men, said Daniels – after an accident in the mill.

When a ruthless mob boss starts taking over the town, the Refractor steps in.

The cast of first-time actors from the area includes Brad Miller, Bryan Sharper, Billy Greenawalt, Chauncey Ortiz and Jim Gessner in the key roles. Several local bands also appear in the film, including Jones for Revival, the Vindys, Hoss and the Juggernauts, Sam Goodwill and the Breezeway, and music from several other bands is included in the score.

Daniels said the idea for the film grew from a skit he came up with as part of marketing work he was doing for some local businesses.

The story takes elements of Youngstown’s rough-and-tumble past – mobsters, violent crime, steel mills – and couches them in superhero style.

Future screenings are planned at the Youngstown Playhouse, California Palms Hotel in Austintown and Suzie’s Dogs and Drafts, downtown, where a large part of the film was shot. Dates have not yet been set at any location.

To follow the film, go to refractormovie.com.

After all screenings take place, Daniels plans to release the film on Netflix.

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