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First African American Filmmaker Ever Oscar Nominated For "Best Live Action Short Film" To Present Latest Short Film Project "Passage"
- Wednesday, Nov. 17, 2021
"Passage" Will be Presented at Special Oscar Consideration Screenings in New York and Los Angeles
NEW YORK & LOS ANGELES
David Massey, the first African American Filmmaker ever Oscar®-Nominated for “Best Live Action Short Film” (for 1992’s “Last Breeze of Summer” which he Produced,) will present his newest Short Film Project: “Passage” at two special Oscar Consideration Screenings: one in New York and one in Los Angeles. The film presents a West African culture that faces an unprecedented challenge in the year 1600.
Massey, who both Directed and served as a Producer on the new film, along with Sandra Evers-Manly, also a Producer, will present “Passage”: On Friday, Nov. 19 at 5PM at the Museum of the Moving Image in Queens/New York; And on Tuesday, Nov. 23 at 7PM at Raleigh Studios’ Chaplin Theater in Hollywood, CA. For the New York Event, pls see: http://www.movingimage.us/visit/calendar/2021/11/19/detail/passage-with-...
At the Nov. 23 screening in LA, “Passage” cast members Noel Arthur and Robert Okumu will be attending the screening, along with the film’s Cinematographer Keith Smith. Also at the LA event, Massey and Evers-Manly will be presenting their 1992 Oscar®-nominated short film “Last Breeze of Summer.” That film’s stars Richard Gant, Marla Gibbs and Starletta Dupois are expected to attend - the showing of the two films in LA will be preceded by a reception for invited industry guests.
Produced by UCE Productions, LLC, and Films With A Purpose,” “Passage” is set in 1600 West Africa. The film tells the story of Gamba, a village leader, and begins on a typical day in a coastal Angolan village, where every member of an African culture is busy performing their daily tasks, such as cleaning, building, and food preparation. Suddenly, a new and violent challenge emerges. How will Gamba face this new foe - one that threatens to destroy the very existence of his family and village?
About "LAST BREEZE OF SUMMER"
A coming of age story about a young black girl, the Oscar® nominated short film “Last Breeze of Summer” presents Lizzy Davis, now a school Principal, as she reminisces about her adolescence in Ranford, Texas, in 1957. As a result of the Supreme Court desegregation order, Ranford is about to integrate their schools. Lizzy’s mother does not want her to participate because of the protests and violence which erupted in Little Rock, Arkansas. While Lizzy is smart, ambitious, bright, outgoing and wants to make a difference, her first day in class shoves her into the hostilities of those not yet ready to integrate. Although difficult, Lizzy decides to return to the angry world which can fulfill her ambitions -- a world where she must stand on her own. Directed by Arik Caspi, Produced by David Massey and Written by Massey and Marilyn Webber, the film stars Richard Gant, Marla Gibbs and Starletta DuPois.
Reviews of "PASSAGE"
- Marla Gibbs, Actress, “The Jeffersons”: “With ‘Passage,’ David Massey has given us an opportunity to revisit our history in a way that is undeniably empowering. Thank you!”
- Sabrina Oertle, September 2021 Screening Attendee, “Brilliant filmmaking and the acting was sublime!”
- Ritzi Lanier, September 2021 Screening Attendee, “Powerful! A beautiful piece!”
- Professor Beverly A. Tate, Retired, Pasadena City College, "’Passage’ is a unique and memorable film experience. It reveals the historical challenges of African people without losing the important humanity of the characters.”
- Elizabeth Ramos, High School Teacher: “Thank you so much David and Sandra for creating a beautiful movie. I’ve been teaching for twenty-five years and I’m still being educated.”
“Passage” is an Official Selection of the 2021 Bronze Lens Film Festival, the 2021 Reel Black Men Film Festival, and the 2021 Run & Shoot Filmworks/MVAAFF Film Festival, and is also an Invited Film for the 2021 Real Sisters of the Diaspora Film Festival & Lecture Series.
About The Inspiration Behind "PASSAGE”
Regarding the making of “Passage,” Filmmaker David Massey says, “My love for history led me to watch a documentary by Dr. Henry Louis Gates, Jr., that explored the interaction of Black African cultures. This historical information revealed some unfamiliar aspects about the relationship among African civilizations on the western part of the continent that were new to me. My hope with ‘Passage’ is to provide a film that allows an audience to take a journey into a historical setting that’s different from their contemporary world. At the same time, I hope the audience can find a way to
connect with the film’s characters and the experiences that so greatly challenge them.”
About Filmmaker DAVID M. MASSEY
David M. Massey is an Academy Award®-Nominated filmmaker who has produced and directed several films and television shows. He holds the distinction of being the First African American in the history of the Academy Awards to be nominated in his role as Producer for an Oscar® in the “Best Live-Action Short Film” category for the film “Last Breeze of Summer” (1992.)
Massey’s latest project “Passage,” currently a 2022 Academy Award® contender for “Best Live Action Short Film,” is set in 1600 West Africa. Massey’s other recent projects include “Where We’re From,” a feature documentary that chronicles the LA independent hip hop movement in the early ‘90s, currently distributed by Shout Studios; “Not All Lost,” a reality-based, celebrity driven PBS television program aired in over 100 hundred PBS markets; “Hinika,” currently in post-production and photographed in rural Ethiopia – the film documents the opening of a new hospital and medical school; and “Tip of the Spear,” which depicts the historical overview of the Congressional Black Caucus.
A few of Massey’s past films include the NAACP Image Award-winning “Men of Courage,” an hour docudrama; “Dare to Struggle, Dare to Win,” a documentary on the 31st December Women’s Movement in Ghana, West Africa, led by the former First Lady of Ghana; and “Fespaco,” a feature documentary narrated by Danny Glover about Africa’s largest and oldest film festival.
Massey is the recipient of several prestigious awards, including The Martin Ritt Scholarship, the 2011 PBS Innovation Award, the National Education Association “Advancement of Learning Through Broadcasting” Award, and the Heartland Film Festival’s Crystal Heart. He is also an Eastman Kodak Second Century Honoree.
In addition, Massey is the former Co-Chair of the Black Association of Documentary Filmmakers, West (BAD-West) in Los Angeles. He holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Communications & Education from Ohio Dominican University, and a Master of Fine Arts degree in Advanced Film & Television from the American Film Institute. He is also on the Student Academy Awards committee.
About Producer SANDRA J. EVERS-MANLY
Sandra J. Evers-Manly created Films With A Purpose (FWAP) to support the production, completion and distribution of diverse films - films presenting stories that impact the hearts and minds of the viewer. With FWAP she aims to Educate, Inspire and Empower diverse future filmmakers, writers and directors, and to raise the anticipation of audiences for meaningful stories and excellence in filmmaking for generations to come.
Evers-Manly recently produced six short films and two documentaries, and she has executive produced and funded 14 short films and seven documentaries by emerging filmmakers. She began as the executive producer of five short films on the topic of Gang Violence through the Fight Back with Films Initiative. She also served as the executive producer for the 1992 Academy Nominated Short Film “Last Breeze of Summer,” directed by David Massey.
Through FWAP, Evers-Manly brings a viable cinematic tool that organizations can use to promote and celebrate diversity and aspire to improve the quality of life in their communities regardless of where they reside – a difficult task for most. She feels this is a ‘must-do’ for a powerful executive who is also a valiant champion of charitable giving.
Evers-Manly, a noted corporate executive, community activist and patron to African American filmmakers and artists, has been making a difference across the nation in diverse communities for more than 25 years. She believes in the power of film as a viable tool by which to educate and uplift. Her Films With A Purpose organization has certainly been destined to make a difference in many lives.
Under the auspices of the Black Hollywood Education and Resource Center, Evers-Manly also supports film and filmmakers with established film festivals – these include the African American Film Marketplace, the S.E. Manly Short Film Showcase, Sista’s are Doin’ It For Themselves, Reel Black Men, the Faith-Based & Inspirational Film Festival, and the Youth Diversity Film Festivals which take place annually in Los
Angeles, CA. Evers-Manly is an author of the children’s book “Raised Up By Mrs. Manly and Her L’s.” She will release her second book, “One Smile at a Time,” during 2022.
About Producer/Writer MEL DONALSON
As a screenwriter and filmmaker, Mel Donalson has written, produced and directed short fictional films such as “A Room Without Doors” (1998) and “Performance” (2009). More recently, he was Associate Producer on the documentary, “Medical Racism: The New Apartheid” (2021), and served as a Writer-Producer on “Passage” (2021.)
Donalson has published essays, served as the Editor of “Cornerstones: An Anthology of African American Literature” and was Co-Editor of the “Encyclopedia of 20th Century African American Literature.” His critical books include “Black Directors in Hollywood,”“Masculinity in the Interracial Buddy Film,” and “Hip Hop in American Cinema.” Donalson is also a novelist with three published novels: “The River Woman,” “Communion,” and “The Third Woman.”
About The Cast of “PASSAGE”
- Noel Arthur as Gamba (Village Leader): Noel Arthur is a proud Trinidadian American, raised in New York. He is the winner of an NAACP Theatre Ensemble award for “Elmina’s Kitchen” and was most recently seen on stage as part of Center Theatre Group's prestigious “Block Party” and in “Native Son” at the Kirk Douglas Theatre. Arthur can currently be seen recurring on Freeform/Hulu TV's “Good Trouble” as FBI Agent Nunn.
- Robert Okumu as Amadi (Warrior Leader): Robert Okumu is a director, writer and actor who has been in the film and television business for over 15 years. He’s appeared on television shows such as “American Crime,” “ICE,” “S.W.A.T,” and “Runaways,” and in films such as “Hollywood Streets,” “Unbreakable Sword” and the upcoming “Avatar” movie sequels. Okumu is passionate about telling stories that push culture forward and leave a lasting impact on an audience.
- Jay Amor as Portuguese Captain: Jay Amor is a skilled stuntman and stunt coordinator who is also noted for his work on iconic TV shows such as “MacGyver,” “Shaft,” and “Queen of the South.” A member of SAG since 1979, and a member of AFTRA since 1980, Amor has appeared in over 180 films, on over 100 episodic TV shows, and in over 200 TV commercials.
Directed By: David M. Massey
Written By: David M. Massey & Mel Donalson
Produced By: Sandra J. Evers-Manly, David M. Massey, Mel Donalson
Production Company: UCE Productions and Films With A Purpose
Edited by: Aric Lewis
Cinematographer: Keith L Smith
Composer: Robert Johnson Jr.
Costumes Vernon Simon
Cast: Noel Arthur, Robert Okumu, Jay Amor