Jimmy Wayne to Film Documentary of Meet Me Halfway Walk
Jimmy Wayne is taking his heart of gold and continuing to do amazing things for at-risk teens who age out of the foster care system, resulting in them becoming homeless like he once was. In 2010, Wayne spent the first seven months of the year walking through the snow, sleet, rain and heat on his 1,700-mile trek, Meet Me Halfway.
The campaign was designed to raise awareness and prevent teen homelessness. Since he reached his final destination of Phoenix, Ariz. (starting off on foot in Nashville, Tenn.), the singer-songwriter has been taking part in many speaking engagements and charity events to continue to spread the word about the painful subject that hits so close to home.
This week, Wayne is gearing up to hit the road once again down the same path in which he started on Jan. 1, 2010. With the help of Colorado-based film company i25productions, Inc., Wayne will revisit his emotional journey with the camera crews close by to capture what he experienced on the walk halfway across America that changed his life forever. Wayne and i25productions will retrace some of the walk, physically, as well as speak with some of the individuals he encountered along the way.
"We'll be doing some extensive filming," Wayne tells Taste of Country. "This documentary is no joke. It’s not like me taking my HD camera and capturing stuff from the walk. We’re going to use my footage as well, but this is a very professional documentary. It’s going to be a recap of my walk, but what i25productions is going to do is all get in the car and drive the route I walked, stopping at certain landmarks, staying in places I stayed and interviewing people I met along the way … just documenting all of it."
During his walk, Wayne spent many nights sleeping on the cold ground, as he simulated what a homeless teen faces day after day. As the message spread throughout his journey, Wayne was taken in to many homes, where complete strangers offered him a couch, a bed and home-cooked meals, some not even knowing who he was.
"Having i25 get on board is a great opportunity for us to spread the message even further," Wayne says. "I am incredibly grateful that the people involved in the company understand the plight of these foster children who age out of the system and are left without any options, and want to help America better understand that these kids need our help. They didn't put themselves in this situation, but there they are. It's up to us to help them."
The film will be directed by Stephen Bowlby and produced by Susie Scott, both behind i25. Southern California-based cinematographer Jonathan West, who has won a number of Emmys for his work on a variety of television shows, including 'Star Trek: Deep Space Nine' and 'CSI,' will serve as the director of photography for the documentary.
"It's astonishing to discover the extent of this issue throughout the U.S. and how it devastates so many young lives," Bowlby says. "We want people to understand what's going on in their own communities, right under their noses, so they can intercede on behalf of our youth."
"What an opportunity to produce a piece about an American tragedy — a broken foster system resulting in homeless youth — through a great American story: Jimmy Wayne's homelessness, success and sacrifice to help change the system," adds producer Susie Scott. "We are eager to begin production and hope this film will shine an even brighter light on the issue until sweeping changes are made."
"Most of my career has been in theatrical, scripted TV series and movies," West notes. "But the most satisfying and memorable projects have been the documentaries, where we have explored real life dramas and social issues. The goal is to enlighten and improve the human condition; to lend one's creative energy to projects that really matter and might make a difference in some way. I'm thrilled to be involved with this one."
There is no word yet as to when the filming of the Meet Me Halfway documentary will be completed, however, Wayne's full-length studio album inspired by the trek is slated for release later this year. For more information on Wayne, Meet Me Halfway or the highly-anticipated documentary, visit projectmmh.org.
Watch Jimmy Wayne Speak of Teen Homelessness at the 2011 TedxNashville Conference