Booyah! M.J. is going to Hollywood
Hum… not quite yet.
But now that I can officially add scriptwriter to my resume, I feel electric and alive. (Scroll down for links to the films)
Over the summer, I wrote two short movie scripts for the University of Miami, Department of Epidemiology and Public Health: Get Tested and Get Vaccinated. The films educate the Little Haiti community about cervical cancer and the HPV vaccine.
In the United States, about 12,000 women are diagnosed with cervical cancer every year. Out of these 12,000 women, about 4,000 die from the disease. Women ages 18 to 64 have a 60% risk of getting cervical cancer.
So, yeah, we needed this.
The lovely Fabienne Sylvia Josaphat was the first one to read and comment on my scripts. Fabienne is the author of Requiem pour Anaise, a novel published in Nice, France in 2002. Her short stories have appeared in various journals and magazines, including The Masters’ Review, Mandala Journal, Small Axe Literary Journal and The Caribbean Writer. Fabienne is currently working on an MFA in Creative Writing at Florida International University, and working on publishing her first novel in English.
Professional actor Philippe Rene helped with the selection of actors and understudies.
The production team included UM students Myra Aquino, Brigitte A. Frett, and Marie Fatil.
James Lapierre (Lapierre Films) and Karry Joseph (Karry Pro) directed and produced both movies.
The first installment is titled Get Tested. Here’s our dynamic cast of characters:
Carline Douze plays the role of Mirlande, a woman who recently found out she has cervical cancer. Karoll-Ann Fanfan plays Caroline, the gossipy (the “zenyèz”) and clueless friend, while Naomie Labaty is the caring and inquisitive Anne-Marie.
Sukaina Tancrede is the well-informed Vanessa, pregnant wife of Dr. Ernesto Sylvain, family practitioner (played by Tarahmes Utaum). Nadia Fleurantin is the welcoming waitress.
The renown Elizabeth Guerin stopped by during rehearsal to offer some guidance.
I love Elizabeth. I sat, hypnotized (or maybe in a state of suspended animation), surrounded by the talented actors, listening.
Get Tested was filmed in the mellow atmosphere of Moca Café, located in the heart of North Miami, 738 N.E. 125th Street. Moca Café rocks! If you haven’t been there—go! The actors and extras enjoyed akras and marinades.
All the ladies were beautiful, with makeup and high heels. Tarahmes was irresistible in his black-rimmed glasses.
The second installment, Get Vaccinated, is also out, with performances by Myrna Baudin St. Jean and her husband Gerard St. Jean, who play a traditional couple trying to figure out whether they should get their children vaccinated against the HPV virus. Carline Douze also appears in Get Vaccinated, and all three actors shine. We shot the film in Pembroke Pines, at the lovely St. Jean residence.
The project was headed by Dr. Erin Kobetz, Director of the Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center’s (SCCC) Disparities and Community Outreach Core Resource, faculty and the Scholar in Residence at the Jay Weiss Center for Social Medicine and Health Equity. Dr. Kobetz has substantial experience with disparities-focused research, and has been involved in multiple community-based participatory research endeavors to understand racial/ethnic differences in breast and cervical cancer outcomes.