HOUSTON - A local man struggling with homelessness has picked himself up and now holds the title of film-maker.
His movie is based on a rapid romance that leads to an unexpected pregnancy and a decision that is left out of one man’s hands.
It’s a situation Dontae’ Lamaar Baker says he has been through, and he decided to make it the subject of his first film called “Over The Holidays”.
"The spark of creativity came,” says Baker. "Use this pain to tell your story and then tell the story of others who maybe have experienced this.”
Baker grew up in Seattle with the goal of becoming a musician. He says he even made a run for American Idol, adding that he was eliminated during the group round.
Years later, he followed his dream to Houston but had trouble making it a reality.
"I tried to share my gift with people, and I tried to get these deals, and it wasn’t working,” he says. "I ended up becoming homeless. I had no money, no car, no anything.”
He says he spent much of 2018 on the streets and later started staying at the Star of Hope Men’s Homeless Shelter.
"I was surrounded by so much hopelessness. It was intense. People were strung out on drugs. I was in a homeless shelter with men who hadn’t seen their families in 20 plus years,” he says.
But during that time, he started attending church services at the Talento Bilingüe de Houston Theater.
In 2019 he was inspired to start over and got a job in production. It was around Thanksgiving when he got an idea for his own project and with no funding, held his first casting call on a downtown sidewalk.
"We went from the first day of casting from one person to by the end of it all being a 65 person cast and crew, and I had never done this before,” says Baker.
Twenty-one days later, with the support of complete strangers, his project was finished. On January 17, he’s premiering his project in the same theater where he was encouraged to keep going.
"In this church, my life was changed, and when I came back, this theater was available, and they said ‘we'd love to have you here’.”
Baker is planning to give a portion of ticket sales back to the church and art center and hopes his story and his new DLB Production Company remind others that anything is possible if you “dream large and believe”.