“And I On the Opposite Shore” is a mystery surrounding two Haitian couples, one adrift on a boat out at sea while another vacations on a beach resort in Florida. Their lives seem very different yet may share an enigmatic connection. With atmospheric imagery of the sea, sunsets and shore, the film evokes an intangible dream of traveling and the consequential reality of reaching one’s destination.
The short film won critical acclaim at the 7th Annual Harlem Film Festival and took away the award for Best Short Short. In addition, it is slated to be shown at the upcoming Big Apple Film Festival on November 14-18 at Tribeca Cinemas and will also be showcased by Not For Profit Pictures for up and coming female filmmakers. The film stars Mecca aka Grimo Marcelin, well known in the Hip Hop Creole Rap World. He was also seen in the TV series, “The Glades” and “Burn Notice”. Making her film debut is Madeystsha Altidor Lamarre. Madeystsha is an actress model that has appeared in both TV commercials and on stage (“You Can’t Take It With You,” “Dearly Departed,” “Rhinoceros). Both stars play dual roles in the mystery.
The film begins with a couple adrift in a boat surrounded by the ocean. In the small boat with them, is their baby. With a dwindling supply of food and no land in sight, they carry on in search of the shore. Visually stunning with its resplendent images and almost oil painting compositions, the story moves us forward with a musically haunting transition. We are now swept away to another point in time with yet another couple vacationing at a resort.
The actors are still the same but we are now privy to an unfolding mystery and the connection between the couples who experience the same incidents only with sometimes different reactions. What sets this film apart is what is not said. Images paint the story with subtleties being the order of the day. Overall, the film is stunning, the actors endearing and the setting is its own entity, namely the elements- fire & water. Each viewer will take away an explanation regarding the connection but that’s just the beauty of this film. You are urged to ask questions, urged to dwell on the pieces of the puzzle to come to your own conclusion. The film’s title will give you some clues but will not answer it for you. That’s your job.
Q: Is there one particular project that you have undertaken in the past that has acted as a catalyst or inspiration for future projects? Are there any adaptations to screen that you are currently working on?
A: “Paris Périphérique,” the short film I wrote/directed in Paris in 2010 has really been the catalyst for my future projects. The main character in the short, Jenny (played by Brisa DeLaSelva), the American girl who goes to Paris for the first time, is one of the characters in the feature film I began writing during the time my husband and I lived in Paris in 2009.
I decided last minute to make a short film version of this character’s story and shot it in Paris 3 days before we were going back to America. This experience of writing/directing/producing a film in French and English for the first time overseas, working with a an international cast and crew then taking it to Cannes Short Film Corner and other film festivals like Harlem International Film Festival and Houston Worldfest lead me down this road to further developing the feature film version and other shorts of stories with an international bent such as “And I On The Opposite Shore” which I’m also developing as a feature length script based off that short as well.
Q: Was there anyone who inspired you growing up as a storyteller?
A: My father inspired me to write–he wasn’t a writer but he loved books, reading everything and watching movies. At an early age he got my sister and I to watch all the classics he loved–Hitchcock, The Sound of Music, West Side Story, John Wayne & John Ford films, Clint Eastwood westerns, Ben Hur, etc. The video store clerk where we rented movies was really surprised about the films my sister and I would ask to rent because we’d ask for Rear Window when all the other kids were renting Friday the 13th part 5.
Q: Was there any aspect that was most challenging in regard to logistical elements for the production?
A: The most fun but definitely the most challenging logistical element for “And I On The Opposite Shore” was shooting on the ocean. I literally not only had to direct the actors but the boat. I had to steer the boat with the actors in it with my hands and feet to keep the boat still which was virtually impossible. It was my first all outdoor shoot for a film and I never realized how much I would enjoy it. You have to adapt to shooting with nature because the sun, the moon and the waves control everything when you’re out there!
Q: What types of projects do you tend to develop and why?
A: Right now I seem to be drawn to writing and directing stories about characters who are travelers and settlers that encounter or feel a connection with other people like themselves in some way and not. I think the traveling thread stems from my own wanderlust that has come and gone and come again throughout my life. As someone who was raised in Queens, NY you gain cred as a citizen of the world by growing up with so many kids from different countries who eat strange food and speak different languages. When you’re exposed to that at a young age it leaves a mark on you, where you gain a sense of worldliness, an openness and curiosity. Unconsciously our actions affect one another whether it’s having a phone conversation with someone we never met to hearing news about people immigrating on a boat but then they disappear and we never hear what happened to them. I feel that loss somehow affects us even though we don’t even know them and that five minute conversation with a stranger can stay us with for a lifetime and that’s always been kind of fascinating to me.
“And I On The Opposite Shore” will be screening at the Big Apple Film Festival
Thursday, November 15 (6-7:30pm Program 8-Theater 2) at Tribeca Cinemas, 54 Varick Street (corner of Canal Street), New York.
For more info: http://www.bigapplefilmfestival.com
ABOUT THE FILMMAKER
Writer/Director/Producer Mozell Miley-Bailey comes from the world of television and independent film. Not for Profit Pictures helped underwrite the production of her latest short film shot in Key Largo, Florida titled “And I On the Opposite Shore” (photo credit above: Lori Cannava) starring Haitian actor/singer Mecca aka Grimo Marcelin and Madeystsha Altidor Lamarre. The film will also be part of NFPP’s upcoming showcase on female filmmakers and will premiere at the 2012 Harlem International Film Festival and screen at the 2012 Big Apple Film Festival in November. Her French/English short film “Paris Périphérique” made its world premiere at the 2011 Cannes Film Festival’s Short Film Corner and won one of the best narrative short awards at Harlem International Film Festival 2011 and a first place Gold Remi award for best short film at Houston Worldfest 2012.
At the helm of her production company Angeles City Films, she directed and produced a staged reading video of “Women’s Minyan” with Mira Tzur, Bern Cohen and theater legend Tovah Feldshuh, a sizzle reel for wellness doctor Dr. Gaby Cora and developed a pilot for a kids web series. Mozell worked on various television programs as a producer, editor and coordinator for MPI Media Productions International, MTV, PBS, JP Kids and Cablevision’s Metro Channels. She’s also a recognized network television publicity executive having worked at Sony Pictures Television/Harpo Studio’s top rated syndication show “The Dr. Oz Show,” Essence magazine and music festival, People en Español festival (both at Time Inc.) and at ABC Television Network where she handled the campaigns for the Emmy® award winning “Extreme Makeover: Home Edition.” “The CMA Awards,” “CMA Music Festival” specials, “Oprah Winfrey Presents: Mitch Albom’s For One More Day,” “Extreme Makeover,” “Wife Swap,” and the third season of “Ugly Betty,” among many other TV series and specials. Some of the top production companies she’s worked with include RDF USA, Endemol, Mark Burnett, Sony Television, Bunim/Murray Productions, Dreamworks and Columbia Tristar.
She was part of the Third World Newsreel workshop and her other short films include “Breathing Tactics,’” “Undone” and “Bye, Bye Pearl of the Orient.” She was one of the original members of the Asian American Film Collaborative (now called the AA Film Lab) in New York along with other filmmakers Michael Kang, Greg Pak, Steve Bai, James Bai, Rea Tajiri, Takeo Hori of Antidote Films and Thomas Moon, whose short films “98.999” and “Drip” she produced. Her passion for film and television began when she was a dancer on “Club MTV” then internships with “Inside Edition,” WABC Eyewitness and a reporting/producing gig on WNYC’s “Asian Panorama.” A graduate of New York University with a double major in broadcast journalism/politics, Mozell has traveled all over the United States, Europe and Asia and lived in Paris, France and the Philippines where she was born. She resides in New York with her husband/musician Thomas Bailey.