All over the country, people have been asking me, "So, Byron, what's your next film going to be about?" The truth is, I have a long list of ideas for films that I'd love to make, but after consulting with my closest friends and advisers, and giving it some careful thought, I've finally decided that my next film will explore the topic of hazing in American culture.
I have long wanted to make a documentary about this subject but never felt courageous enough to address it. This is a sensitive and controversial topic. However, after I learned about the tragic death of Robert Champion - the Florida A&M University band member who, in November 2012, was tragically killed by his fellow band members because of a traditional hazing ritual - I felt compelled to illuminate this issue in a documentary film.
As a filmmaker who is a fraternity member (I am a proud member of Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Incorporated) and someone who has been hazed and has hazed young men, I feel uniquely qualified to make this film. As I have done with all my other work, I will approach this subject with sensitivity and care.
I plan to break new ground with this project. I also expect this film to serve as a teaching tool for those who want to preserve the rite of passage experience but who also want to eliminate some of the more dangerous and harmful aspects of hazing.