He was sentenced to life in jail, now is making a movie to inspire troubled youth

DURHAM, N.C. -- The well-dressed man preparing location shooting for his new film in Durham is also a convicted felon. That's part of Mike Anderson's life journey, and he's very candid when discussing mistakes he made as a young man and arrests that began when he was 18.

"I was released on a $25,000 bond. But then seven months later, that's when the other tragedy happened," he told ABC 11. "An altercation in the streets, gone bad. Ended up getting arrested on first-degree murder."

He served 17 years of a life sentence before good behavior helped him earn an early release. We first met him in 2011, when he was working as a beverage manager in a Durham restaurant.

He's come a long way since those days. He doesn't work as a manager on Main Street in Durham anymore. But he's managing his life very well, using it to inspire others and making a movie about it.

"As I was serving that life sentence, I realized there were things that I wanted to do. I had visions and dreams of becoming a TV personality as well as a filmmaker," said Anderson.

He's already made a documentary and written an autobiography, inspired while incarcerated at Polk Youth Correctional Center. That's where he decided to do better.

"There was a counselor by the name of Jocelyn King. When I got there, she could see so much promise in me, and she decided to drop a seed of encouragement," Anderson said.

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Now he's honoring that woman in the biopic he's shooting in Durham. He cast Shar Jackson, an actress many will remember from the Moesha TV series, in the role of the counselor.
"And I'm really honored to play this woman," said Jackson. "A lot of people don't understand, it really takes one person to believe in someone and inspire them to change their lives."

Anderson says the new film is part of his ongoing work with young people who are now serving time in jails and detention centers.

"I would go in sometimes, and do the program there. Or I would go to alternative schools and find those who had been adjudicated and were already on probation and deal with the intervention program that I had," he said. "It mainly dealt with the arts."

He wants the new film's message to reach troubled youth.

"Learn from me, listen to me, believe me when I tell you that this is not the path you want to go down."

He says the biopic will air on a cable/satellite channel, but can't disclose that channel's name yet. We'll let you know when and where you can watch it, as soon as we get confirmation.

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