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Gangsta Island - Web Series

“Gangsta Island” is fully animated dark quirky comedy that brings back the nostalgia that we all loved prior to the social media era: kids playing outside, boomboxes, the Golden Era of Hip-Hop, handwritten letters to love interests, and the grade school bully. It is a shocking, clever, and innovative story that will surely make you laugh and cry...sometimes simultaneously!

  • Ken Lewis
  • Ken Lewis
  • UrbanLenz Productions
  • Project Type:
    Animation, Television, Web / New Media
  • Runtime:
    17 minutes
  • Completion Date:
    December 13, 2021
  • Production Budget:
    75,000 USD
  • Country of Origin:
    United States
  • Country of Filming:
    United States
  • Language:
  • Shooting Format:
    4K - Adobe Character Animator
  • Aspect Ratio:
  • Film Color:
  • First-time Filmmaker:
  • Student Project:
Director Biography - Ken Lewis

Ken Lewis is an award winning innovate film writer/director based in the Chicagoland area. Not one for producing the standard narrative, Ken has a penchant for witty satires and clever plot twists. In his first film “Jean”, he covered the chronological sequence of a young, depressed woman driven to drug addiction. At the end of the film, he left the viewer to interpret the fate of the film’s protagonist. His 2nd film, The Final Interrogation”, focused on the consequences of sacrificing your own well-being for other people who may be undeserving. The film was critically acclaimed because it led the viewer to believe that the lead character was being interrogated by a police officer about a murder that he committed when actually it was HIM who was murdered and that the “interrogation officer” was his deceased mother talking to him from purgatory. In his most recent work, “Miss Represent”, he takes the ever-familiar social media world and turns it into an actual place (a living room). Using clever dialogues and deliberate exaggerations that fit the genre, Ken giggles the excessive use of social media and brings a beautiful message: being your true self is all you really need. “Miss Represent” went to over 30 film festivals and took home 6 total awards. Ken holds both an undergraduate degree in Electrical Engineering and an MBA from Purdue University. He lives in Country Club Hills, IL with his wife and two daughters and enjoys honing his craft at filmmaking, a good craft beer and cigar, and all things technology.

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Director Statement

I was in the midst of the final stages of producing a TV pilot that I wrote that I called “Vice Grip”. Production schedules had been printed, we had a few tables reads, and the budget was set in place and then BOOM: Covid-19. I spent the next few months trying to understand when it could be postponed. And things got worse with Covid. I quickly began to realize that things would probably take years to return to normal. The most interesting thing was how the way content was consumed drastically changed. TikTok blew up, IG reels became a thing, and watching anything made with a cellphone became just as acceptable as a million-dollar Hollywood blockbuster film. All of a sudden, my TV pilot didn’t seem like the “in” thing. Not that I’m one for doing what’s popular at the time, but I realized that I could make this project more personal than ever. But how? After falling asleep watching YouTube one night, a pretty cool animated video came on and just like that it hit me: I should make “Vice Grip” into an ANIMATION! Bingo. But I no longer felt attached to the name “Vice Grip”. What would sound catchier? Well since it’s set in my hometown of Gary, Indiana which some people grudgingly referred to as “Gangsta Island” due to the increase in crime in the 90s I felt that I could use that name...except it’s ANYTHING but GANGSTA. If Covid taught us anything, it taught us to have fun and keep ourselves busy while quarantining. Who wants to see another depressing crime drama? I know I didn’t, so I created the concept of “Gangsta Island” with the unique concept of not only being fully animated but taking place in the year 1988. I picked that year because that was near the tail end of a simple time period without technology being a distraction. I’m also a huge lover of early traditional hip-hop music which will be a theme throughout this series. Voila, the hottest new animated web series “Gangsta Island” is here! Be prepared for a dark comedy that has many shocking occurrences coupled with gut busting laughter and disbelief.