Earlier this month Kenni York gave my tickets to the premiere of her movie At Least I Didn’t Kill Him. I went and was thoroughly entertained.
The premise of the story explores how we “wear masks to cover up the hurt we’re dealing with and tend to hold on to relationships that slowly tear us down over time.”
Janelle Hampton (Alexandria Denise) has secrets—the kind many women carry in relationships. She loves her husband Oliver and wants her marriage to work, so she puts on a brave face to hide his infidelity as well as physical and emotional abuse. Eventually, hiding drives her over the edge, and Oliver (Eric Allen) appears to suffer the consequences. However, in the end, Janelle finds herself in a lonely, secluded place.
The story is strong and easily answers the “what ifs” that can come along with lies, infidelity, and continued abuse. Janelle is the most developed character. I can’t say that Janelle grows because her journey doesn’t cause growth. Janelle changed. I didn’t like the person she became but I can see why she changed.
Amanda (Nalishia Hill), Janelle’s best friend, is, well, a character. Hill’s performance as Amanda is so real, I had to remind myself not to give her the side-eye after the movie.
While the story and the acting is good, the production does give away that At Least I Didn’t Kill Him is in fact a true indie film. And, that’s not necessarily a bad thing.
Interview with Kenni York
Is this your first film?
This is my second film; the first is a documentary entitled Teal Voices and it covers the sexual abuse epidemic. Sexual assault awareness is my advocacy… At Least I Didn’t Kill Him isn’t about sexual abuse, but I am against any type of violence against women.
How was the process of getting the film from short story form to the screen?
The process of taking the story from book to film was challenging, yet rewarding. I did a lot of the work myself from writing the screenplay adaptation, casting, putting together the soundtrack, and some production. I am honored to have worked with such professional individuals who saw my vision and helped to bring it to life.
What did you learn about yourself while making the film? Writing the short story?
From working on this project I learned that I can do anything I put my mind to; that nothing can limit me or hold me back but me. While I watched my character develop into a strong woman although she made some difficult choices, I also grew into a stronger woman realizing that I’m able to use my talents to bring awareness to violence against women.
How do you raise awareness about domestic violence?
Sexual assault awareness is my advocacy, but I lend my support to the domestic violence awareness initiatives as well. (Support is essential). For SSA, I advocate via my organization, The Let Your Voice Be Heard Foundation, Inc. Through this entity we provide resources, training, and immediate assistant to sexual abuse survivors.