Movie News & Reviews

‘Defining Greatness’: Young Miami dancer’s film based on life experiences

David Camacho, 21, in a scene from his film ‘Defining Greatness.’
David Camacho, 21, in a scene from his film ‘Defining Greatness.’

“Defining Greatness,” a film by 21-year-old Miami hip-hop dancer and aspiring filmmaker, will premiere Wednesday at O Cinema in Wynwood.

The film, about an orphaned drug dealer who dreams of becoming a dancer — and is partially based on filmmaker David Camacho’s life — is already sold out. Camacho is hoping to schedule a second screening, and it will also go online an hour after it premieres.

“I want for it to let people know they’re not alone,” Camacho said of his decision to release the film Wednesday night on YouTube. “My main goal is not for it to be popular, but for it to touch as many people as possible.”

“Defining Greatness” deals with sensitive topics, including bullying, street violence and teen depression.

Camacho, who wrote, choreographed, directed and starred in the film, said some of the themes in the story come from his own experiences.

“Growing up in Wynwood, it wasn’t like it is now,” Camacho said. “There would be drug raids right outside my house.”

While Camacho never had substance problems himself, he had several friends who sold and used drugs. He added that storyline to the main character, Marcus, in an effort to make the experiences of the character “universal,” he said.

Some of Marcus’ experiences are based on Camacho’s real-life struggles with bullying and depression.

Camacho was bullied growing up because of his love of dance.

“Dancing isn’t seen as a very masculine thing,” Camacho said. “I used dance as an outlet for everything that was going on in my life.”

The teasing Camacho faced led to depression and suicidal thoughts. He recounted one moment where he was waiting for the bus to school and debated jumping in front of it.

“Working on the film caused me to lose my sanity for a bit,” Camacho said. “It was a lot of reminders of what I went through. But I took that pain and turned that pain into art.”

The film’s title comes from a song Camacho wrote for it, also titled “Defining Greatness.” Camacho wrote two original songs for the movie, with the help of his sister, Jeka Sole, and Christian musician J Conn.

“I wrote the song to tell people it’s up to them to be great,” said Camacho, who graduated in April from Miami Dade College with an associate’s degree in mass communications.

On Sunday, Camacho’s friend Danny Axtell posted on Facebook: “I seriously can't wait to watch this!! I'm so proud of you.”

View the film online

“Defining Greatness” will go online on Camacho’s YouTube page, thelildavidshow, at 10 p.m. Wednesday.