Ex-inmate hopes his biographical film will teach lessons he learned the hard way
Posted December 9, 2019 7:30 p.m. EST
Updated January 31, 2022 9:53 a.m. EST
Fayetteville, N.C. — A Cumberland County man who spent more than 17 years in prison walked back into a jail Monday, not to serve time, but to help others avoid ending up there like he did.
Mike Anderson wants to keep others from learning hard lessons that could land them behind bars.
He has created a documentary called "A Polished Soul," that provides a look back at his life while offering lessons for those facing tough decisions that could cost them their freedom.
Anderson grew up off Bunce Road in Fayetteville.
He says when his mom and dad divorced he began selling drugs in middle school at the age of 14.
"And then when I got out of school, I graduated to selling cocaine and guns," Anderson said.
The drugs led to violence and a murder charge.
Anderson says two people help turn his life around in prison.
One was a female counselor.
"She inspired me and when I went in, she set it up for me to be able to get positive programming," he recalls. "So I went in, I got two college degrees: one in computer systems technology (and) the other one was in business management."
Anderson said the other person was long-time inmate, who is portrayed in Anderson's film by Hawthorne James.
James also starred in "The Five Heartbeats."
James believes peopled end up in crime for some very simple reasons.
"The bottom line is people have to eat, and when you have to eat there's things that you would do that you would never ordinarily do," he said.
Anderson is filming the prison scenes for his bio-pic at the Cumberland County Detention Center.
He said he hopes the file will illustrate to young people that a jail is not where they want to get an education.
"They need to hear that hard door slam," he said. "They need to see that hard aluminum steel table where you get to sit (and) that steel toilet that's cold every time you sit on it. These kids need to see that stuff."
Anderson hopes to have his made-for-TV film on the air this spring.
Anderson's documentary, "A Polished Soul," can be viewed on YouTube.