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'The Repass' Is A Surreal Tale Of Young Creole Girl Who Loses Brother In Katrina (Fundraising)

by Sergio
December 6, 2013 12:48 PM
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The Repass

It should not come as a surprise that we get inundated with filmmaker requests to post fundraising campaigns for film projects they’re developing.

After a while they all seem to start to look and sound alike, unless there’s a name attached to it that gets our attention, like Spike Lee (and let’s face it, it was because of his fame that his recent Kickstarter campaign was so successful), or, what’s even better, if the project itself is an interesting and intriguing one.

And fortunately, that’s very much the case here, with the feature film The Repass, by writer, producer and director Rae Shaw, starring Marie-Françoise Theodore and Donzaleigh Abernathy.

A former student at the University of Chicago, who did her graduate work at U Miami, Ms. Shaw worked in the film industry as an assistant on the executive side, before moving to strike out on her own, forming a production company called Wicked Lovely Films in 2008, and made her first short film Soap and Roses.

She describes Repass as “a surreal fairy tale of a young Creole girl who loses her brother in Hurricane Katrina, and she uses Haitian spirits & dance to find him."

But she says by using the term “fairy tale” it doesn’t mean some simplistic fantasy aimed at children.

As she says: “Fairy tales don't all have happy endings, despite the stories Disney tells us; they have complicated endings that teach us something real about living. What I love about the Grimm tales is that they drive home with frightening urgency the importance of living a true and good life. As a child who has lived through her own dark fairy tale, I wrote Repass to tell a story of hope and healing for the international community."

As for Ms. Theodore, who is of Haitian descent, Repass is more personal. As she notes: As an actress my goal as well as fellow African American woman filmmakers, is to tell stories from a perspective that Is not normally seen in our industry. When Rae gave me the script of The Repass to read initially  I was skeptical. I have seen one too many movies that explored Haitian culture in general, and the Voodoo religion in particular, in a less than favorable (or downright despicable) light.

However she changed her mind once she read the script, adding: “I was more than pleasantly surprised and delighted to find nuanced and complex characters in a haunting story that defies traditional approaches to movies about modern day Haiti and Haitians…That resonates with me as personally. I Had to hide Haitian while I was growing up in Chicago in order to survive and did not fully come to terms with my identity until I was up to an adult. In fact, my 'identity' is still a work in progress! Being a dancer as well as actor, my path has-been to explore and train in Haitian ritual dance all which is a big portion of the film. Now when someone Asks me "What are you?" (which happens all the time), instead of being offended or fearful of attack, I answer: “I'm Haitian, African American raised”. It's always exciting for an actor to get to play someone who is raw, vulnerable and emotionally naked. For me, it's a sacred act of serving in the community. As a Haitian African American actor roles that fit the bill can be few and far between.

Sounds like a worthwhile film doesn’t it?

A fundraising campaign to raise $10,000 to help bring Repass to life has been launched through crowdfunding site Razoo (which is new to me, I admit). With 6 days left in the campaign, and just over $2100 raised, your contributions have obviously become even more crucial. So to contribute, go HERE

And for the The Repass website, where you can learn more about the project, go HERE.

Below is a short video with Ms. Theodore talking more about the project and herself:

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  • Li Ling | December 12, 2013 3:44 PMReply

    This work is pretty eye-catching! It arouse a special passion in my heart. Her healing voice made me think art can break the blockage in different cultures and races. I think choose such actress to play Marian is totally reasonable. Speaking of connect her identity through art, I was truly feel I should watch this!! Can't wait to see.

  • Carolyn Belton | September 10, 2013 6:27 PMReply

    Life is an interesting thing. I have been on yet another quest to discover my "spiritual self", and I meet Rae and meet The Repass. I am of Haitian ancestry and have been told by various spiritualists that my ancestors are watching and waiting to pass me the "asson" and that my true spiritual power lies in the medicine and mysteries of that land. I cannot help but believe that meeting Rae is no coincidence. I find the story intriguing, fanciful, insightful and totally deserving of time and attention. DO NOT SLEEP ON THIS MOVIE!!!

  • John Waters | September 6, 2013 1:37 PMReply

    This seems like a valiant effort but as a native of New Orleans, I question why again and again the overall image of the city is always viewed from the "Katrina" lens? Neither the director or actor are not from Louisiana. Although, that should not mean that they can not use Louisiana, New Orleans, Creole culture, the conversation they present sound tenuously linked are full of the same vague navel gazing of people who aren't really making strong deeper connections between Haitian culture and New Orleans.

  • Rae Shaw | September 9, 2013 1:23 AM

    Thanks for your comment John. Neither Marie Francoise or I are from New Orleans but the lens through which we view it as outsiders has merit. I am interested in Hurricane Katrina because like 911 I believe it is a major national historical event that is a watermark for this decade. It is an event that comments on some of the deeper values and systems that are being lost and changed in our country. I don't believe that ignoring or moving past what happened will address or resolve any of these issues but The Repass will cast light on them. However, I do understand that natives of New Orleans are tired of hearing about Katrina, but we hope that they will want to support a film that showcases a different side of New Orleans, the resilience and vibrance of its community and cultural traditions.

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