A former foster child turned Hollywood film writer will be in the spotlight during a gala event benefiting a Surrey-based organization.
Antwone Fisher, subject of an acclaimed biopic in which he was played by Denzel Washington, has been announced as keynote speaker at a fundraising event hosted by SOS Children’s Village B.C.
“While raising funds for local children in foster care,” according to an event advisory, “guests will be inspired by (Fisher), who has worked in Hollywood for 20 years as a writer and producer, with an impressive 14 writing projects or assignments with the major studios.
“Among those projects is the feature classic, Antwone Fisher, directed by and starring Oscar-winning actor Denzel Washington, written by Antwone and based on his own life. The film garnered numerous nominations and awards. Antwone received the renowned Humanitas Prize, the Screenwriter of the Year Award from the National Association of Theater Owners, and was listed in Variety’s ‘Fifty People to Watch.’ Antwone’s first book, Finding Fish: A Memoir, about his inspiring story, became a New York Times best-seller.”
Born in an Ohio prison to a teenage mother, Fisher became a ward of the state and was placed in foster care. He spent two years in a loving foster home, but was subsequently moved and suffered 12 years of abuse at the hands of his new foster family.
Unable to locate a new placement for him, at age 14, Fisher was sent to a reform school in Pennsylvania where he remained until he graduated high school at 17. Emancipated from foster care, he found himself in the world alone and homeless, living on the streets of Cleveland.
From there, Fisher joined the U.S. Navy, where he served his country for 11 years, according to a bio. After his honorable discharge from the military, Fisher became a federal correctional officer and later took a job at Sony Pictures Entertainment working as a security officer. He took a free screenwriting course, and the rest is history.
SOS Children’s Village B.C., described as “the world’s largest non-governmental, non-denominational child development organization and cares for fostered, orphaned, or abandoned children,” is based on 57th Avenue in Surrey and also operates its village in this city – the only one of its kind in Canada.
The organization’s International Foster Awards Gala is designed “to recognize leadership and success in foster care, to celebrate inspiring former foster children who have triumphed over adversity, and to raise money to help current foster children and youth in dire need.”
The event will also feature a performance by Surrey-raised singer Desirée Dawson, winner of the CBC Searchlight competition a couple of years ago.
“If you want a little hint about who the incredible winner of this year’s SOS International Foster Award is, simply Google ‘Rapping Dad,’” said Douglas Dunn, the organization’s executive director, in a release.