Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Big Tings A Gwan

Hey folks. So it seems like we haven't been in this space forever, but believe me when I tell you that Curtis and I have been biz-ee! I know, I know what else is new, right? Oh there's lots. Like for instance...

Our August 12th premiere was a hit! Actually, it was so nice we had to screen it twice. (Photos courtesy of Jason John)



Yep, that's right the out pour of support was fierce that evening. Thanks again to all who came out! You made us feel loved.

Also, an extra special thanks goes out to these folks for the evening...

Our parents (Johns to the left, Woods to the right).


Our cast members (left to right: Kaleber Soze, Marjuan Canady and Robbie Morgan). Michelle, Azariah, and Aaron were with us in spirit...

One last note before we move on: Purple. Heels. That is all.

Okay. So now that we've got that squared and out of the way, I bet you'd like to know what else we've been doing. Well, we've been talking to the kiddies. Yes, that's right. Team ZEMIRA took some time out this past summer to visit with students at the Drammeh Institute, a Bronx filmmaking program for youth.

During our visit we got to speak to them about overcoming challenges while pursuing a passion and the importance of the barter system in building a network. We even got to show them a few scenes from the short and offered them technical tips they could incorporate into their own projects. A huge thank you goes to Iman Nur, director of the program, for extending the invitation to us. Our visit even got us a mention in the Bronx Times!

Oh but that's not it people. I told you we've been busy!

Last Friday our good friends at Rise Up Radio(WBAI 99.5FM) brought us on the show (along with our star Marjuan Canady and phenomenal visual artist Marthalicia) to discuss ZEMIRA as well as the role of women in film and theatre. You can listen in from WBAI's archives to catch our September 3rd airing. Thanks to the Rise Up Radio family for looking out. We had a blast. Oh, and I'll try not to be so babble-ly next time. LOL.

Well...ok, folks. That is it for now. Whew!!


Oh and PS, we got in our first review on the short. Read it on Society HAE.

Friday, July 30, 2010

It's Here!! The ZEMIRA Short Film Screening--August 12th!

The time has finally come for us to share the fruit of our labor with the world. Through the help of family and friends anxious to see the full length, 90-minute feature onscreen, we have been able to put together a 15 minute short version of the film to help us further this effort. We invite you to come and witness this vision firsthand. There will be a brief Q&A following the screening.

About ZEMIRA: About Co-written and produced by filmmakers Curtis John and Mecca Woods, ZEMIRA (www.zemirathefilm.com) is a film that focuses on a teenage girl's struggle to overcome the challenges of her impoverished, South Bronx life. However, ZEMIRA goes beyond typical urban fare by asking viewers to think critically about the socio-economic status quo that permeates the inner city. Not every young girl of color is destined for failure...right?

When: Thursday, August 12, 2010
Time: arrival time 7:30pm, screening starts promptly at 8pm
Where: Center Stage NY, 48 West 21st Street, #401
Hosted by: Curtis John and Mecca Woods (the creators of ZEMIRA)
Cost: $5 (at the door)
RSVP: mecca@zemirathefilm.com (space is limited)

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Real Life, ZEMIRA: An Interview With Tasty Keish

Keisha "Tasty Keish" Dutes is something of a powerhouse. The NYC born and bred media maven has been making quite a name for herself on the entertainment scene. She co-hosts Rise Up Radio(WBAI 99.5FM), brings us exclusive interviews with emerging and established artists, as well as hosts her own web series, Taste of the Town. Still, that's not even HALF of her resume. The woman is a beast, people.

Given Tasty Keish's extensive knowledge on all things related to entertainment and the public eye, we thought she would make an excellent subject for this installment of the Real Life, Zemira series. So we asked TK to sit down and talk with us (thanks Keish!). Here, Tasty Keish and I chat about the current state of black women in media and the importance of positive role models.


Wednesday, June 9, 2010

When You Show Love...

Words cannot express the gratitude we have for the talented actors, crew/technicians, friends, family and supporters who enabled us to complete filming of the ZEMIRA short. For all of you (way too many to name) we are extremely grateful. We could not have accomplished this without any of you.

Extra special shouts (in no particular order) to our cast (Michelle Nicholson (Zemira), Robbie Morgan (Darryl), Suzette "Azariah" Gunn (Jeanette), Marjuan Canady (Robyn), Aaron Conley (Amir), and Kaleber Soze (Shane)) and crew (Casting Director, ChiChi Anyanwu; Cinematographer, Francisco Escobar; Assitant Directors, Kissa Starr and Jasmin Tiggett; Asst. Cameraman, Chris Anthony Hamilton; Sound Recordist, Matt Perry Thomas; Audio Tech, Dmitri Tssayre; Super Grip/Gaffer, Gene Malkin; MakeUp Artist, Faatima Hall; Still Photographer, Evita Robinson; and Productions Assistants Andres Chuck Valencia, Kojo, Ronnie Davis, Hugh, Cameron Bhola, DeLana R.A. Dameron, Yohanna Florentino, and others)for their motivation, professionalism, and dedication on this project.

Also, special, special thanks to Dyalekt for opening his home to us for two long days of filming. Dyalekt, you saved us both time and money and for that you are totally rad!

Thank you also goes out to Adrienne Anderson, DeLana R.A. Dameron, Noelle Ito, Nana Mensah, and Sinyan Whitfield for feeding us while filming. We are happy to report that no one passed out from hunger or thirst during the long, hot hours on set. We love you guys for that.

As we move into the next phase of this project (editing. yay!)we look forward to sharing the finished product with the world (very soon) while getting closer to producing the full feature version of the film. Below are a few behind the scenes photos from days 2 and 3 of shooting.

When you show love, see what happens?

Our Director of Photography, Francisco Escobar, behind the camera.

Make-up artist, Faatima Hall preps actor Kaleber Soze (Shane) for a scene.

Exterior shot with actors Kaleber Soze (Shane) and Michelle Nicholson (Zemira) (Photo courtesy of Celeste Nogueras--photographer in training.)

Curtis, director of ZEMIRA, talks with Assistant Camerman, Chris Anthony Hamilton.

Kissa Starr, 1st Assistant Director, readies set for filming.

Curtis provides notes on a scene to cast members.

Left to right: cast members Marjuan Canady (Robyn) and Michelle Nicholson (Zemira) on set.

Audio Tech Dimitri Tssayre chats with the stars.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

It Was All A Dream...

On location at the ZEMIRA short film shoot. Day 1: Orchard Beach, Bronx, NY. Photos courtesy of Celeste Nogueras.

Friday, May 28, 2010

Production Help Needed

Hello all,

For those who are still unaware, next week Mecca and I are filming a short version of our soon-to-be produced movie ZEMIRA.

We still need and are very open to either help on the set or donations so we can ably feel our actors and crew.

For the set, we still need a Script Supervisor, Boom Operator and Best Boy, and an affordable Make-Up person. But mostly we Production Assistants (PA) in which you'll basically just need to either help myself, Mecca or various crew members with different things we need for that moment. We'll be shooting on Thursday June 3, Friday June 4th and Sunday June 6th. If you're able to help, please contact me by email or by phone (917-697-4157) and I'll give you even more details.

Thank you to those who have already promised to volunteer their time to help us on set. I'll be contacting you all individually over the next few days on which positions I'll need you to fill.

Thanks also to those who have promised to provide some extra money or supplies for food for the cast and crew. Please send any monies for that to our Paypal donation page at: http://www.zemirathefilm.com/donate_now. Just click on the Donate Now button which leads directly to our PayPal account OR enter my email address: curtis.john@gmail.com to send funds directly to me.

We realize that some of this is very last minute so any help you can provide will be more than appreciated. We look forward to making movie magic happen with or through your help.


Curtis John
Director, ZEMIRA

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Real Life, Zemira: An Interview With Charlotte Mishell (Part 1)

She is a woman, a poet, and a teacher. She is Charlotte Mishell. Over the past four years she has become a staple to the NYC spoken word scene through her hard-hitting, thought-provoking poetry, as made evident on her album Love, Charlotte.

Recently, Team ZEMIRA caught up with Charlotte at a NYC bookstore to pick her brain on the art of poetry, her inspiration, and the state of the young black female in America.

The first installment of our Real Life, Zemira series, our interview with Charlotte Mishell is one of several interviews with real-life women from which ZEMIRA draws its inspiration and mission.

So take a minute to watch the interview, soak in the discussion, and discover why it is we all love Charlotte.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Will The Real Zemira Please Stand Up?

By now, many of you out there who've been following me and Curtis' progress in making this film and are familiar with the story of ZEMIRA, know that it's loosely based on real-life experiences that I've had growing up in the South Bronx. By now, you should also know our mission in making this film in the first place: to give a voice to the other Zemira Black's of the world, the thousands of girls across the country who share her experience, to tell their collective story.

Keeping this mission in mind, Curtis and I thought how inspiring it would be to hear and share stories from some of the young women who make up this collective--the real-life Zemiras. We want to hear from these young women (like some of you who may be reading this right now) about what they are doing or have done to overcome the challenges of poverty, racism, sexism, and other adversity. We want to hear these stories, tape these stories, read these stories, and post them right here on this blog for all the world to see. We want to applaud these women for beating the odds.

To submit your story or suggest someone we should interview, please write to us at zeetalk@zemirathefilm.com.

On that same note, we also want to add that we are still accepting entries for our "I Love the Bronx" contest. The winner will get 2 VIP tickets to our film premiere as well as a DVD of ZEMIRA (once completed)! We may even throw in a surprise or two.

Thus far, we've been getting some really cool and heartfelt entries and look forward to sharing them with you all in the coming weeks. Still, keep sending in your words, poems, songs or videos and remember - it can be about growing up there, it can be about the culture, the music – whatever it is, we just want you to share with the world at large your affection for why the Bronx is important to you and should be to us all.

Entries will soon be displayed weekly on our website, blog and Facebook and the best will be displayed at future fundraisers.All entries can be submitted by email to: ILoveTheBronx@zemirathefilm.com.

Audio, video, written and or multimedia entries will maintain the author’s copyright but your submission to this series gives the officers of Zemira Film Inc the right to display your work for social, entertainment and fundraising purposes.


Tuesday, February 2, 2010

ZEMIRA: A Community Project

Gosh. Is it February already?? The new year is surely off to a running start and if you were half as busy as Team ZEMIRA was in 2009 then you know that 2010 is shaping up to be the year where all that hard work will finally pay off. Still, like many of you our job is far from over. As we continue to make great strides in the pre-production phase of our film, growing ever closer to getting this film made and in theaters, we realize that in order to achieve our goal we must kick things up a notch in our efforts to raise the funds necessary to cover the cost of producing ZEMIRA.

We have a fantastic and in-demand Director of Photography, Francisco Escobar, who grew up in conditions similar to our title character and understands first-hand what we’re trying to accomplish with this film on both a social and artistic level. We're mutually excited to work with each other. As such, we are reaching out to you all via ChipIn.com, as your donations will enable us to pay Francisco and his crew, keep working artists working, and ultimately empower a generation.

If it’s just $5 or $20 you can spare, that’s wonderful, as every amount matters; donors who contribute $50 or more will get a DVD of the film once its completed, $200 and up will also have their names included in the film's end credits under "Special Thanks To," and if you’re able to be as generous to donate $500 or above, you can get what they call a ‘walk-on’ role in the film, which basically means you’ll be one of the ‘background’ characters (non-speaking) in an essential scene of the film. Donors who contribute $1000 and above will receive Associate Producer credit. All contributions will be made tax deductible by way of our fiscal sponsor. Either way, your gift will be one that will never cease giving. Chip in now: