Special Screening of Mississippi Damned in LA

March 2010
Film Indepedent’s Project:Involve
Special Screening of Mississippi Damned

Project:Involve is proud to present a special screening of Mississippi Damned, winner of the Jury Award at the Chicago International Film Festival 2009. The film is based on a true story about three poor, black children in rural Mississippi who reap the consequences of their family’s cycle of abuse, addiction, and violence. Bitterly honest and profoundly subtle, writer/director and Film Independent Fellow Tina Mabry successfully captures growing up in a world where possibilities and opportunities seem to die in the face of the suffocating reality of physical and sexual abuse, obsession, and a myriad of destructive compulsions.

Wednesday, March 10 at 7:00 pm
National Center for Preservation of Democracy
111 North Central Avenue
Los Angeles, CA 90012
(Across the courtyard from Japanese American National Museum)

Q&A and reception to follow the screening

RSVP to JHwang@FilmIndependent.org

Entrance is on a first-come, first-served basis

This screening is free and open to the public!

Hayti Heritage Film Fest Win

Announced on February 21st at the Hayti Heritage Film Festival Awards Ceremony, Mississippi Damned wins the Audience Choice Award for Best Feature Film.

Mississippi Damned has now won 12 awards, including the Gold Hugo at the 45th Chicago International Film Festival. Audience Award at New York’s Newfest, the Grand Jury Award for Best Actor at Miami’s American Black Film Festival for Tessa Thompson’s depiction of Kari Peterson, and the Grand Jury Award for Outstanding US Dramatic Feature at Outfest in Los Angeles.

To see Mississippi Damned’s complete list of awards, please visit the film’s website.

Spotlight on Actor D.B. Woodside
Born in New York City, D.B. Woodside got his start in television in the second season of Murder One in 1996. After that series, he guest starred on The Practice, The Division, and Once and Again. In 1998, D.B. had his break-through performance as Melvin Franklin in the film The Temptations. He also appeared in the 2000 film Romeo Must Die as Aaliyah’s on-screen brother. From 2002 to 2003, Woodside guest starred in 14 episodes of Buffy the Vampire Slayer’s final season, as Principal Robin Wood, Buffy’s boss and son of a Slayer. He followed this up in the following television season, playing the pragmatic Wayne Palmer, the Chief of Staff and brother to President David Palmer during the third season of Fox’s blockbuster action thriller 24. Woodside returned as a series regular for the sixth season as the President of the United States.

Q: What was unique about your experience while working on Mississippi Damned?
A: An exquisite association of artists? A convergence of like-minded folks? Either one of these arguably histrionic statements would very easily encapsulate my adventure shooting Mississippi Damned. However, in keeping with the down home spirit of the piece, I’ll describe it quite simply – as a truly diverse family, an overly used touchy feely cliché espoused too often by artists – yes – but anything short of that would be a gross understatement bordering on insulting. Working on Mississippi Damned was like a summer barbecue with those crazy cousins that laughed hard, played hard, and most importantly, worked hard. A summer barbecue that had me perpetually smiling and licking my fingers dry, enjoying the creative flavors that were brought by all participating. A barbecue that I never wanted to see end even though I knew that eventually it would have to end. It was too perfect, too dreamy. Perfect – in that it resuscitated my romantic conviction that the ‘what about me’ ego that has become so prevalent in Hollywood and that unfortunately has all but eviscerated the process of true collaborative filmmaking is and always has been unnecessary and counterproductive to original raw powerful art such as Mississippi Damned. Dreamy – due to the unadulterated grit and unrivaled dedication that Tina, the director, and the cast and crew brought to set everyday, everyone influencing and inspiring each other without the undesirable burden of watering the truth down.

Q: How was it working with director, Tina Mabry? How did you work to develop your character with her and independently?
A: Working with Tina on Mississippi Damned was far and away the most creatively rewarding experience I have ever had. Tina was unbelievably adept at creating a working environment that actors thrive in. She has an easy laid-back way of challenging each artist to push themselves to excel without being overbearing or condescending. I’ve been quite lucky in my career to work on some wonderful projects but one of the reasons why this one was so extraordinary for me was Tina made me feel like there was no right or wrong way to attack a scene, a line or the character. And was always open to limited non-ego driven improvisation. She quietly guided the cast and crew along gracefully and quite often it felt like we were dancing with someone who knew where she wanted us to go but allowed us to find our own unique way of getting there.

Q: What drew you to the story and to the character of Tyrone?
A: I find the story to be unflinchingly honest. Raw and uncompromising. I was often surprised at how many times the themes of hope, family, and love are beautifully woven in through out the narrative. Looking from the outside in – Tyrone, by all accounts, is an unrepentant unpleasant individual. Call me strange – but it’s characters like these that I am drawn to due to their inability to carry their darkness, their shadows, and their abominable sickness to a place of healing and higher love.

Q: People have commented on the portrayal of men in the story, that they are seen in a negative light. What is your response to this?
A:I believe firmly that it is overly-simplistic to judge the men in this piece with easily dismissible stereotypes with such words as ‘evil’, ‘shiftless’, ‘negative’, etc, etc. It is my opinion that perfunctory characterizations such as these are blatantly provincial, at least on the surface, and quite often are lacking of intellectual curiosity reminiscent of pre-Oprah days. They have unfortunately become convenient go-to labels in what is supposed to be the era of taking personal responsibility for the unhealthy, quite often unconscious, choices that we as individuals continue to make in our lives. Let me be clear – Some of the men are indeed appalling individuals that I would never want to break bread with for the obvious reasons. Their actions cannot and should not be excused nor justified but I believe if we continue to quickly cast them in a purely superficial negative light, lessons will never be learned and the cycle of violence will only continue. Anna ‘wakes up’ from her unhealthy choice and from her ‘slumberingly’ low self-esteem when she throws Tyrone out of her house. The cycle of violence due to her awakening is broken.

Q: What projects are you currently working on?
A: Currently, I am working on my own film project about a young adolescent black boy and young adolescent black girl living in 80’s Suburbia where they were both ostracized by black and white society due to a terrible lie that was told crippling their once promising lives.