Scene and Heard

Mary Loss of Soul

There is no accurate description of the whirling dervish I met recently on the set of her soon-to-be-released film, Mary Loss of Soul. It was the last day of shooting, and the energy level and passion of this female director was boundless – and infectious!

The woman I speak of is Jennifer B. White. She is a writer, director and producer – but she’ll tell you she is first and foremost a storyteller. “I was ten years old. I’d never heard the term “folktale” – a narrated story to entertain a group of listeners. But, that’s exactly how I began my creative dream – as a storyteller in the woods. Back in the day of knock-on-door neighborhoods in the suburbs of Massachusetts, I’d gather with a group of wide-eyed kids along with my side-kick little sister. I told stories – often about ghosts, witches and anything spooky – making them up as I went along. I started writing novels at the age of 12 on my mom’s old IBM Selectric. As the family keeper of all things old and nostalgic, I held on to those precious works of fiction like they were a buccaneer’s booty.”

After college, Jennifer signed with her first literary agent, and went on to become a public relations professional heading up PR in Boston hotels and top agencies where she was published in hundreds of publications throughout the U.S. She continued writing novels throughout her career, and, through a series of fortunate encounters, began writing for Hollywood.

For Jennifer, her partner Stewart Huey and their production company Oak Ivy LLC, this is their first feature film – and from what I saw on set that day, it’s a winner. The movie centers on the disappearance of Mary Solis and her return to her family’s lake house without any memory of the traumatic events that transpired. She is also without one very important thing – a part of her soul. Even though a shocking mystery surrounds her disappearance and her disembodied soul begins a grim haunting, the Solis family mostly fears watching Mary’s true spirit wither away. When it’s soon revealed that two little girls, the same age as Mary’s sister Sophia, went missing on the lake the same night that Mary disappeared, the stakes are raised.  Is Mary suffering from an ancient condition known as Loss of Soul? Or is it indeed something more nefarious at work? After enlisting the help of a Shaman, the Solis family embarks on a journey to the spirit worlds, hunting for a supernatural cure.

The film promises to take us on a ride, with its heavy symbolism and abundant metaphors. More importantly, it shows White’s commitment to plain old-fashioned good storytelling. She brought her team together to make this film in 16 days with the help of RI’s own Project 989, Anthony Ambrosino and Nicholas Delmenico. Add to that this mother of three’s  passion and love for her own family, which is reflected in the guidance of her actors. “I was directed by Kathryn Bigelow, she doesn’t talk much – you make a much better director,“ said accomplished actor Nick Mancuso, who plays Detective Mark O’Hagan in the film. Diana Porter, who portrays Devra Brawnson  in Mary Loss of Soul and is one of New England’s most sought after actresses, had  this to say about working with Jennifer. “Jennifer is an amazing creative force who provided just incredible characters to portray and truly cared for actors as people by making sure we were completely comfortable so we could give our best performances.”

From my vantage point, I believe that part of Jennifer’s success is being able to switch hats between writer and director, and literally getting in the trenches with actors to evoke the depths she is looking for. It also helps that she has a master’s degree in psychology, researches the supernatural and grew up in a clairvoyant household. Her production company, Oak Ivy, is based in both Boston and Los Angeles, and she seems to be able to bring the best of both coasts together in her work. With partner Stewart Huey, Jennifer has over 20 years’ experience in Hollywood where they have cultivated relationships and partnered with people who are as committed as they are to quality storytelling. This bodes well for the dynamic White, who has four other scripts written. If this is any indication of what’s to come, get ready for some movie magic. She’s not about to stop here.

As an actor myself, I know there are no small film parts. White knows this and acts upon it with the utmost conviction.  She expects that everyone will bring their very best to the process, as she does each time she steps behind the camera or pens each of her original stories.

When Mary Loss of Soul opens, I have a feeling that we will walk out of the theater as witnesses to the very best that filmmaking has to offer – especially if Jennifer B. White is at the helm.

Follow Jennifer’s first feature film on Twitter:  twitter.com/MaryLossofSoul

You can also read about her work on Facebook here: www.facebook.com/OakIvy?fref=ts  and for more production information, please check out their IMDb page at www.imdb.com/title/tt2904798/?ref_=sr_1 . You may also go directly to their website at: www.oakivy.com .

And Zombies!

Zombies learning how to talk? They will if Audrey Noone has her way! She is the creator of the new web series, “Amy Kidd, Zombie Speech Pathologist.” The zombie apocalypse decimated Amy Kidd’s speech therapy practice.  How can she rebuild her business you say? Zombies can’t talk – she can teach them!  Follow Amy’s adventures as she sees her first zombie client and starts her zombie charm school.  (Somehow, I see merchandising here – Zombie Charms)?

Audrey Noone combines her 17-year career as a speech pathologist with her lifelong participation in the arts. She writes, directs, produces and edits “Amy Kidd,” as well as acts in others’ projects. She also has written several short films that other filmmakers are producing. When she’s not playing with live zombies, she writes and dreams about them. Thus, her dreams are coming true!

Also, look for the work of Shawn Manchester as he turns some of our local actors into the walking dead (and apparently the well speaking walking dead) in this spoof on zombie stories. I saw that first hand when I worked on his film The Next Step.

You can follow Audrey’s new series here: www.youtube.com/watch?v=kLc7pDeFKqw . And learn more about her here:  www.audreynoone.com . We look forward to more hilarity from Audrey soon!

 

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