Aurora Williams is a 17-year-old girl living with her parents in the New Orleans neighborhood known locally as the 9th Ward. A talented young pianist, Aurora is on the verge of leaving for college to study music when she discovers her cousin Tyrell is responsible for a heinous high-profile murder. Soon, Aurora faces a dire conundrum – turning Tyrell in is obviously the proper thing to do, but societal conventions and family loyalties complicate an already tense situation... Nobody wants to be branded "a snitch” in the tight-knit community of the 9th Ward. With a large reward at stake and the police closing in on Tyrell, Aurora must decide if she is willing to risk the safety of her family in order to do what is right.
I love and hate New Orleans with almost equal passion. Yes, it’s a fascinating city where anything can happen on a Mardi Gras Day, but countless lives are ruined there and too many people die on its streets each day. In fifteen years spent living in NOLA, I’ve been both a public school teacher and a professional firefighter. Working those jobs, I tended a bright spark within some youths, hopeful with possibility, only to see it extinguished by the traumatic family life they face at home. I have also washed their blood down the gutter with a fire hose after they were shot to death because of some pointless argument. Sadly, that’s the nature of existence in “the city that care forgot”.
Our country’s income inequality and accessibility of firearms have created a culture of violence that is uniquely American. New Orleans is one of the battlefronts of this uncivil war, where it is often a struggle just to survive adolescence. The fact that too few are able to escape the cycle of poverty and crime is what inspired me to write A QUIET STORM. This is a story that embodies the tragedy and triumph that anyone who spends time in America’s impoverished communities will recognize. Its themes of blind family loyalty, distrust of authority, and the recklessness of street justice are the stuff of headlines in cities like Chicago, Baltimore, Oakland, Detroit, and of course New Orleans. A QUIET STORM goes further, though, in an attempt to explore the inner lives and motivations of characters that are good, bad, and wounded.
New Orleans is a city that is simultaneously thriving and dying, making it the perfect setting for a film wherein daily life is balanced between the same extremes. Its decaying houses, verdant nature, ruptured streets, and humid light host characters that represent the spectrum of life in the often treacherous 9th Ward. From the struggling parents to the abandoned children to the police who must bear witness... all of these people are poignant to me, as I interact with them every day, whether it be on duty or on the street. They all know that in the tough neighborhoods of the Big Easy, everything can suddenly be at stake on any given day.
– Jason Affolder, Writer/Director A QUIET STORM
A QUIET STORM marks the acting debut of star Morgan Glover (Aurora Williams). Writer/Director Jason Affolder discovered her at NOCCA, a school for the arts in New Orleans, originally intending to use her solely as a hand double for piano performances. The producers had begun casting months earlier and already narrowed their options down to a handful of potential actresses, but Morgan was given the opportunity to audition for the lead role as well. It was soon clear that she was the Aurora they were searching for, and she was offered the part.
Writer/Director Jason Affolder is a veteran firefighter for the New Orleans Fire Department. Many of the violent scenarios and crime scenes portrayed in A QUIET STORM were inspired by real-life events, witnessed first-hand by Affolder while on duty.
Jonathan 'J-Rock' Dotson, who plays the victim of a drive-by shooting in the opening sequence, was actually shot and killed 3 months after production ended only one block from the primary location.
A QUIET STORM is dedicated to his memory.