By Tambay A. Obenson | Shadow and Act September 11, 2012 at 2:46PM
We previously announced this news last month, as part of a longer post about the upcoming opening of MIST Harlem Cinemas, where the film will make its US theatrical premiere on Friday, October 12.
But here's the official press release with more info (Vanessa reviewed it enthusiastically HERE; also check out Vanessa's interview with actress and star of the film, Stana Roumillac, HERE; trailer underneath; the film will also screen at the Urbanworld Film Festival which begins next week):
New York, NY (September 10, 2012) -- Based on the real-life experiences of the filmmaker and the growing issue of African American and Caribbean children who are estranged from their fathers, writer/director Mariette Monpierre’s feature film debut ELZA is a tale of hope, family and acceptance. A new film from the Caribbean, ELZA presents a touching story about a young college graduate who returns to her hometown in Guadeloupe in search of a fleeting childhood memory and a father she barely remembers. The film will make its U.S. theatrical premiere at New York’s new MIST Harlem Cinemas on Friday, October 12th presented by Autonomous Entertainment.
ELZA makes its U.S. premiere following acclaimed screenings at film festivals around the world, including the Pan African Film & Arts Festival, where it received Special Jury Recognition for Best First Feature, British Academy of Film & Television Arts/LA Festival Choice Award and the Programmer’s Award for Narrative Feature. ELZA also was nominated for Best Picture of the Diaspora at the African Movie Academy Awards in Lagos, and won Best Narrative Feature at the Roxbury International Film Festival.
Elza (Stana Roumillac), a beautiful young woman who lives in Paris with her mother (Mariette Monpierre), has reason to celebrate, as she’s just become the first in the family to earn a college degree. But on the eve of her great achievement, Elza realizes that she has never come to terms with her sense of identity, prompting her to return to her hometown in Guadeloupe to make contact with her long-lost father (Vincent Byrd Le Sage). Bringing passion and perseverance to her shocking discoveries on the sun-kissed Caribbean island, Elza discovers hard truths beneath the beauty and lushness of Guadeloupe’s gorgeous landscapes.
ELZA is inspired by director Mariette Monpierre’s personal story of searching for her biological father in her native Guadeloupe. With a reported 50% of African American and Caribbean children estranged from their fathers, the issue that Monpierre addresses is a real one. In many cases, these communities have a history of slavery, while in others the father simply neglects his responsibilities. As the story unfolds, the deep-rooted ELZA presents a breathtaking look at the troubling hardships that lay beneath the sun-kissed Caribbean island.
A wonderful and altogether fresh combination of coming-of-age family drama, and search for sense of self, ELZA is set to a soundtrack of sensual ballads and vibrant beats by such entrancing Caribbean artists as Victor O, Soft and neo-folk-soul performer Stévy Mahy.
Born in Guadeloupe and raised in Paris, Monpierre earned her Master’s degree in Media and Languages at the Sorbonne University and Smith College before taking up residence in New York City. After sharpening her skills as a producer at BBDO in New York where she produced commercials for Pepsi Cola, Visa, Pizza Hut, Gillette and FedEx, Monpierre won acclaim with her short film Rendez-vous at the Director’s Fortnight at Cannes, which then went on to festival screenings around the world. ELZA is Monpierre’s first feature film.