SWOSU student plays main role in short film about opioid abuse
Updated: Jan 31
By Johannes Becht
Rebecca: I'm about to go to work, I just wanted to drop by and make sure you're ok.
Elijah: I'm fine.
Rebecca: You don't really look fine. You get messed up last night?
Rebecca looks around at a couple of beer bottles and trash in his apartment.
Elijah: I just watched the game, nothing crazy. Can we talk more later? I'd rather be asleep right now.
Rebecca: You know James' birthday is Friday, right? Did you forget that? Because, I can't pay for gifts and a cake and all of that.
Elijah's eyes widen in surprise.
This scene is part of a new short film by the Wichita Affiliated Tribes about opioid abuse among the Native American community. SWOSU master student Zachary Hokeah is playing the main character Elijah, who is suffering from opioid abuse. Eventually, he is breaking down and getting help.
The scene above can be seen as one of the turning points in the story. Elijah is in the middle of his addiction and Rebecca, the sister of Elijah, gets increasingly concerned about him and finally tells him that he needs counseling.
"I'm honored to have this opportunity. It is always fun to work with new people," Zachary Hokeah said. "My brother was addicted to pain pills, so I also have a personal stake in that."
Jordan Matthew Ward, the director of the film, says: "It's a very unique opportunity for me and the tribe. I wanna use my gifts to tell a story that means something. I want the viewers to see it and take action against opioid abuse."
Rebecca is played by Alannah Callahan, who studied among others at the Oklahoma University. She started modeling at the age of 17 and later found her way into acting.
"I didn't think I had a chance to get the role," Callahan says. "But I think Ward was looking for a very specific person to play Rebecca."
The film is shot in Weatherford, Anadarko (the headquarters of the Wichita Affiliated Tribes), and Oklahoma City. The movie is likely to be finished by summer.