SCREEN GEM: When Destiny screened to loud cheers and applause at the Jamaica Film Festival inside the Courtleigh Auditorium in New Kingston on Thursday, July 9, a lot of us in the audience were seeing the feel-good movie for a second or third time. (It’s that appealing.) However, members of the Diaspora based in the UK will be getting their first chance to see what the buzz is all about when Destiny hosts its London premiere on July 31 in Leicester Square. In the meantime, other great things have been happening for the film. According to director Jeremy Whittaker, who lives in Toronto and is a former member of the TV-J family, work on the film’s soundtrack is complete, and it will be released via Tuff Gong International and Universal Music in September.
AT FIRST BLUSH: Here at TALLAWAH we love a good “origin story,” especially when it revolves around people we can’t help but admire and respect. That certainly includes US Commander-in-Chief Barack Obama and his iron-willed First Lady Michelle, who are the subject of the upcoming film Southside with You. Slated for a 2016 release, the biography (which delivers servings of romance and drama) will enlighten audiences about the events that brought Barack and Michelle together all those years ago – before they became the political power duo the world can’t get enough of. According to online reports, the movie (currently in production) will share the story of that fateful summer in 1989, when they met (both in their 20s) while working the corporate law scene in Chicago’s Southside. While the role of Michelle was scooped up by the radiant Tika Sumpter (Sparkle, Tyler Perry’s The Haves and The Have-Nots), Barack is being portrayed by rising star Parker Sawyers, whose screen credits include the last X-Men movie and Kathryn Bigelow’s Osama bin Laden epic Zero Dark Thirty. Southside with You is being directed by Richard Tanne.
‘ANNIE’ REVISITED: Unsurprisingly, Hollywood is making good on its promise to bring the endlessly fascinating story of Annie Palmer, the White Witch of Rose Hall, to a global audience. A team, led by US-based financier Arthur Whylie, discussed the project at length during one of the workshops at the Jamaica Film Festival, making it clear that the film (with the working title of White Witch) is expected to be complete and ready for wide release by the summer of 2018. And when it comes to casting? Whylie says they will be turning over the lead role to a major Hollywood leading lady, an actress with the depth and range to bring a character like Annie to full-bodied life. Hmmm. Stay tuned.
MUNAIR’S MOMENT: Special shout-out to veteran actor Munair Zacca, whose star was ablaze at the Jamaica Film Festival recently. Still, I don’t think a lot of people noticed that Munair (above, right) played memorable roles in two of the most well-received films at the festival – Destiny and Kingston Paradise – which, by coincidence it seems, were screened one right after the other on the Thursday night. Those who have first-hand knowledge of Munair’s remarkable acting skills consider him, and rightly so, an actor for all seasons.