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Truth Hall

Some dirty little secrets are about to come out in this fun, sexy, new movie! Cheating men, cheating women, friendship and love…

Indie film Truth Hall is the winner of multiple well-deserved awards including the International Black Film Festival’s Audience Choice Award, The International Black Film Festival’s Best Feature Award and San Diego Black Film Festival’s Best Comedy Award.

Check out my conversation with the award-winning filmmaker and lead actress Jade Jenise Dixon, of Stepping Stone Productions.

Abiola: Jade — it’s so exciting to see a smart, funny, upscale romantic comedy film featuring people of color. Congrats on getting your film made. When I was hosting The Best Short Films on BET, part of the show’s excitement was watching diverse, creative stories. What inspired you to become a filmmaker?

Jade: I wanted to tell stories that were important and depicted an upscale African American lifestyle. These stories are not often told so I wanted to present us in a different light. My latest project Truth Hall is smart, funny and upscale. I remember walking into a major Hollywood executive’s office with my script and he told me “I love the script but it might be too smart.” He didn’t think Black people could appreciate anything smart. That was a little disheartening for me because I felt like I wrote the best script I possibly could. I believe my film gave not only African American people a good voice but also African American filmmakers. There are so few of us in the industry, especially black female directors so it was important that I created something with a voice.

Abiola: Sadly, that is a common issue that I have run into numerous times from gatekeepers. When I was shooting my documentary Knives in My Throat dealing with bipolar disorder and mental illness, I was told the same thing, probably by the same executive! But thankfully, Jade, you persisted. Please tell our readers about your story. Summarize “Truth Hall.”

Jade: Truth Hall is about 5 women who reunite several years after college graduation for a wedding. As the story unfolds, the audience learns that there are a lot of skeletons in the closet and each one gets exposed in a dramatic yet sometimes comical banner. Truth Hall was the name of the dormitory they stayed in.

Abiola: Now, you also co-star in the movie. I was in awe of that fact! Was it difficult to balance so many hats?

Jade: It was really about the team. My team makes my job easy. Directing and producing is in my blood because I’ve been doing it for so many years. In high school, I directed For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide When the Rainbow is Enuf. There’s an energy that comes over me once I’m sitting in the director’s chair. I go in and get the job done.

Abiola: Ntozake Shange’s for colored girls changed my life. Anybody who mentions that work is immediately someone whose work I’ll appreciate. I have a Safe Sex Awareness Initiative, so I was pleased as a viewer and an activist to see you introduce taboo topics. Did you find any resistance to tackling the stigmatized  subject of HIV and AIDS?

Jade: No, as a matter of fact I feel it helped fill a void. This is a story that needs to be told. There’s a line in the movie that says, “I had to take back the power it had on me.” There are no set of people who are exempt from this disease. HIV and AIDS affects so many people across the world.

Abiola: You also take on the sexuality taboos of lesbian love and homosexuality- in a romantic comedy. Tell us about that choice.

Jade: I wanted to show all sides of us. We can be mothers, wives, lawyers, doctors, etc. African American women can be anything. Homosexuality is heavily condemned in the African American community and it’s seen as an abomination by Christians. Although I’m a Christian, I feel like the idea of “belief” creates barriers as opposed to a sense of unity. Belief should never come before loving your children. Belief should never come before respecting other people.

Abiola: My girl Nicole Prescott is one of your stars. I love Nicole! She is extremely talented and known for a strong body of work.  Let’s talk about your casting process and the talent you chose.

Jade: Everyone knows Nicole! I didn’t hire a casting director, my company hired a few acting associates to find people. The difference between a casting director and an acting associate is that I get to see every person’s audition. It’s common practice for casting director’s to edit people’s auditions. I had the opportunity to see each person’s video so by the time we had table reads I had technically already seen everyone. We had a few table reads and then the final table read. At the final table read we selected a few cast members and the others came later.

Abiola: Proud of you, sis! Where can people find the movie Truth Hall and learn more about your work?

Jade: You can find the film Truth Hall at Target, Wal-Mart, Netflix and Amazon.com. You can also find it through the film distribution company Image Entertainment. To learn more about me and my film visit the film’s official site. There is also a facebook fan page.

Abiola: Everyone check it out. Films with black characters are not just for black people, and I was pleased to see something that was different than the shucking, jiving and buffoonery that commonly gets a voice. Brava! Well done.

What do you think?

Follow me on Twitter @AbiolaTV and http://www.AbiolaTV.com. And of course buy my novel Dare by Abiola Abrams wherever you buy books.

xo,

Abiola

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