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,) along with Producer Sandra Evers-Manly, have presented Massey’s newest Short Film Project: “Passage” at two very recent events: The first screening was held at the Museum of the Moving Image in Queens, NY, on November 19, and the second screening took place at Raleigh Studios’ Chaplin Theater in Hollywood on November 23.

The Hollywood event drew such notables as U.S. Congresswoman and LA Mayoral Candidate Karen Bass, as well as “Passage” cast member Robert Okumu and the film’s screenwriter Mel Donalson. Also in attendance were actors Richard Gant, Marla Gibbs and Starletta DuPois, stars of Massey’s earlier 1992 film “Last Breeze of Summer.” The New York event included a panel discussion with Massey and Arthur which was led by Ken Meeks, Author and Producer with Black Enterprise Magazine and Black Enterprise Broadcast Television.

“Passage” presents a West African culture that faces an unprecedented challenge in the year 1600. “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.

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?

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.”

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.”

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.)

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.

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.)

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.