All of Los Angeles is invited to a complimentary sneak preview of “My Dead Selfie”, a new supernatural-horror-thriller on race.
“Joy takes us into a world of ancestry and race and makes us wonder about the power of karma.” — DTLAFF.
I’m Joy Shannon, Los Angeles-based writer and director of “My Dead Selfie”, featuring Sharena Walker and AJ Garrett. It’s a slow-boil type of film where themes of race and identity clash with the darkness of the occult. In it, a seemingly perfect interracial marriage is tested when the White husband begins practicing black magic passed down to him by his slave-owning ancestors.
I’ve always been attracted to the world of the supernatural. Equally, I have a long commitment to protest art, thus making a supernatural, horror thriller on a social issue was natural. “My Dead Selfie”, my first horror film, won The Best Experimental Feature Film Award from The Downtown LA Film Festival in Oct, 2018.
I wanted to show the madness of racism; the exploitation, the betrayals, the constant assaults, destroyed dreams, the pain, suffering and massive killings. All for money. For wealth. Greed. Conceptually and on a microcosm, that’s what the film aims to capture. Horror was the most appropriate genre, because for many African Americans, our collective experience has been horrific.
Composer Chris Amato’s scary music is an integral part of driving the pace and setting the tone of “My Dead Selfie”. The film combines the supernatural with historical events with a haunting acapella slave song written and sung by C. Felicia Val’Rey in the opening.
“My Dead Selfie” is a micro-budget film, made for far less than $50,000, and it’s impossible to list all that went wrong during production and post production, but strength from my past mentors allowed me to finish the film and prevail.
I got strength from my close association with director and honorary Oscar winner Charles Burnett by being a family member and remembering how he made the brilliant and award-winning “Killer of Sheep” without a crew when he was a student in film school at UCLA. He didn’t have a crew because none of his classmates were willing to help him – and years later, “Killer of Sheep” was declared a national treasure by the Library of Congress. Some of Charles’ other films include “To Sleep with Anger”, “The Glass Shield”, “Nightjohn”, “The Wedding”, “Selma, Lord, Selma” and “Namibia: The Struggle for Liberation”.
I got strength from the deceased Pulitzer-nominated playwright Dr. Endesha IM Holland, writer of the hit play and her memoir of the same name, “From the Mississippi Delta”. I was her personal assistant for several years, and I could hear her spirit telling me to ‘hold strong’ – just like she did. And to ‘see clear water in muddy streams.’
I also got strength from an unsung hero named Carlton Moss. He started his filmmaking career in the 1940’s, and I was fortunate to know him as an older man. I attended Fisk University in Nashville for two years prior to transferring to Howard University in Washington, DC. Once a month, Fisk’s art department, under the leadership of David Driscoll, would fly Carlton from Los Angeles to teach us filmmaking. At that time, he was the only film professor that Fisk had. Some of his films: “The Negro Solider”, “Frederick Douglass: The House on Cedar Hill”, “Portraits in Black: Paul Lawrence Dunbar/America’s First Black Poet”, “The Gift of the Black Folk”, “Drawings from Life: Charles White” and “Forever Free”. Carlton has been dead for many years, but I could hear his spirit telling me, ‘You have all you need to make your film.’
And it was my years as a student at Howard University, studying filmmaking under Haile Gerima (“Teza”, “Sankofa”, “Wilmington 10 – USA 10,000”, “Ashes and Embers”, “Bush Mama” and “Child of Resistance”) and making several no-budget feature films that gave me the most strength to get through this production. During my time at Howard University and in Washington, DC after graduating, I not only learned how to squeeze a penny for my productions, but I learned the importance of having a voice in my films – a strong, Black, female voice.
I’m inviting all of LA to join me for a free complimentary screening of “My Dead Selfie”. Running time: 98 minutes. First come, first seated. Arrive early. A brief Q & A will follow each screening.
Dates, times, and locations for the free screenings; no tickets required:
- April 13, 2019, Sat, 10:30am, The Town Center Theater, 17200 Ventura Blvd, Encino (theater is on lower level and free parking is available only for this screening)
- April 20, 2019, Sat, 10:30am, The NOHO Theater, 5240 Lankershim Blvd, North Hollywood
- April 27, 2019, Sat 10:30am, The Royal Theater, 11523 Santa Monica Blvd, Los Angeles
“My Dead Selfie” is produced by Joy Shannon and Miriam Holder-Jacobs. Co-produced by Jonathan Burnett. Associate produced by Joy Parris.
For more info contact: firstname.lastname@example.org
Laemmle Theater page: https://www.laemmle.com/films/45392
All photos by Joy Shannon