Inclusion StatementThis film is helmed by a Franco-Vietnamese-British-American queer woman who brings together a majority female cast and crew with a wide array of linguistic, sexual and cultural identities; African American, Cuban-American, French-Creole, Moroccan, French, Turkish, and more.
About The Project
Whenever I tell folks what MA BELLE, MY BEAUTY is about – they immediately perk up and smile. Whether because polyamorous and LGBT love stories are their everyday reality or a total unknown, they’re intrigued, inspired, and have questions, or stories.
It’s time for us to explore those questions and stories, and to laugh, and cry, in the process. This is the film I wanted to see when I was growing up, and that I still want to see now. This is the film that could have shown me what kinds of non-traditional relationships are possible, and how some choose to navigate them.
Having grown up swinging between continents and cultures, I am tangled to this day in the dissonance between how I look, how I sound, what I value, and how I behave. And, at an early age, I found myself falling in love with people... over, and over again... This film is about how we attempt to place roots and identity in people by falling in love.
We’ll drift effortlessly between languages and cultures, while also depicting dissonances in cross-cultural relationships. MA BELLE, MY BEAUTY crew so far shares roots from Vietnam, New Orleans, France, England, Cuba, Morocco, Ivory Coast, and Israel.
My first short, BIRD OF PREY, transported me out of college and into the independent film world, screening at Sidewalk in 2016 and Frameline in 2017. My second short, GODDESS HOUSE, was a challenge I set for myself – to write, direct, shoot, and edit a film myself in 48 hours – and with the help of my incredibly devoted and skilled community, it was a huge success. We recently screened at Outfest Fusion in Los Angeles.
This is my first feature film, and I could not be more ready. Thank you so much for joining the team!
[The following images are inspiration, and are not production stills!]
Watch below to get a feel for some of Marion's recent projects!
Please note, that while our current crowdfunding goal is set at $35,000 - this is only a fraction of that total amount we need to make this film. OUR TRUE MISSION IS TO LARGELY SURPASS THIS AMOUNT!
Anything above the $35,000 limit will go toward:
- Cast salaries
- Crew salaries
- Location rental fees
- Equipment rental fees
- Production insurance
& so much more...
Use the WishList to pledge cash and loan items - or - Make a pledge by selecting an incentive directly.
About This Team
MARION HILL (writer, director, editor)
is a New Orleans based director. She grew up bouncing between the UK (Guildford High School), New York City (the Brearley School), and France – in a Franco-Anglo-Vietnamese household that always supported her pursuit of the arts and of film. She graduated from Northwestern University in Chicago with a Communications degree and a focus in Directing for the Screen.
Her work tends to explore women, sexuality, worldwide cultures, and music, as she seeks to understand and portray their inherent connections.
Marion’s university thesis short BIRD OF PREY played at festivals such as Sidewalk (Birmingham, AL) and Frameline (San Francisco). The film launched her directly into the independent film world, and now has over 2 million views online. Her second short, GODDESS HOUSE, which she wrote, directed, shot, and edited, answers the question: “What would beautiful, consensual sex work between two women look like?”. It played at Outfest Fusion (Los Angeles) and Patois Human Rights FF (New Orleans) in March 2019.
She is also the assistant director of video at the world-famous radio station, WWOZ 90.7FM New Orleans, producing non-stop music-related content.
She spent much of 2017 in Vietnam and cannot wait to return.
LAUREN GUITERAS (director of photography)
is a Florida born Cuban-American cinematographer, based in Los Angeles and a graduate of the American Film Institute Conservatory. She studied undergraduate film at Northwestern University, where she and Marion were close friends and collaborators.
She has shot feature & short narratives, music videos, and branded content throughout the country. Her work has included projects for Cage the Elephant, Beck, Amazon Music, The Corner Shop, The NTWRK, One Vote at a Time, and Topic.com.
Fast-paced work, The X-Files, and good stories make her feel at home.
Mahmoud "Mood" Chouki (composer)
is a master guitarist, multi-instrumentalist and composer. From the age of eight, Mood trained at the Conservatory of Larache in northern Morocco and continued on at the National Conservatory in Rabat, with a focus in music theory and classical guitar. At the age of eighteen, Mood won first prize in the International Guitar Competition in St. Esteban del Puerto, Spain. His projects led him to travel and perform around the world including the Magic Lutes Concerts with composer Hughes de Courson and the Symphonic Orchestras in Qatar (2011) and Bahrain (2013).
Mahmoud and Marion met in New Orleans in 2018, and collaborated on Marion’s short film GODDESS HOUSE.
IDELLA JOHNSON (BERTIE)
is an actress, singer and producer born and raised in New Orleans, Louisiana. She began her career as a professional actor working in theatre, starring in roles such as Lutiebelle in Purlie, Sweet Anita in Jelly’s Last Jam and Emma Borden in Lizzie, earning her three Big Easy Awards, including one for Best Actress in a musical and two for Best Supporting Actress in a musical. She made her screen debut in the 2011 film, THE MORTICIAN.
Since then she has appeared in various TV shows and Films, including The Haunting in Connecticut 2, and her award winning film Blood Runs Down in which she both starred in and produced. She started her own production company, Lioness23 Productions, where she currently produces works that are both progressive and thought-provoking for people of color.
She also sings at various events and venues in New Orleans, and has performed with Jazz greats like Kermit Ruffins, Davell Crawford, and David Torkanowsky.
KENNY REYNOLDS (producer)
has made Louisiana his home for over two decades. After receiving his bachelor’s degree at LSU, and later attending grad school at University of New Orleans, Kenny found his way into working on a variety of projects and in various positions during his time in entertainment.
He served as the as Video Production Manager for AXS TV’s coverage of The New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival (live concert broadcast) from 2009-2013. Kenny pivoted to narrative producing with the pilot for SHEPHERD (indie series pilot). Most recently, Kenny produced the narrative feature film LOST BAYOU, which was selected as a 2018 IFP Narrative Lab Project in Dumbo, New York, as well as being the recipient of grants from the Duplass Brothers and #CreateLouisiana. LOST BAYOU will be making its world premier at the 2019 Tribeca Film Festival.
LIZZIE GUITREAU (producer)
is a New Orleans producer whose career began as a coordinator for a CBS network television series. As Chief of Production for New Orleans production company, Worklight Pictures, Lizzie has spearheaded over one hundred projects - short films, features, music videos, and commercials alike - since joining the team in 2015.
She recently produced music documentary "On Va Continuer! The Lost Bayou Ramblers Rockumentary" which received the 2018 #CreateLouisiana French Culture film grant and premiered as a Spotlight Film at the 22nd French Film Festival. Her next feature,"Easy Does It", featuring Linda Hamilton and set to release in 2019.
Lizzie champions women in film and is actively working towards building a sustainable independent film industry in Louisiana and across the South.
KELSEY SCULT (producer, marketing coordinator)
is a multidisciplinary artist and producer based in New Orleans. She is finishing work on a Spike Lee-produced documentary about the history of New Orleans through the lens of music. She is the Co-Founder and former Co-Director of the nonprofit BAR NONE, which provides access to creative resources and opportunities to currently and formerly incarcerated people and their loved ones throughout Louisiana.
She hosts the podcast, “The Piece with Madame Kelso”, where she interviews New Orleans-based artists on their creative practice. In her own work, Kelsey explores themes of intergenerational trauma and the feminine process of inherited memories of violence, loss, and love.
Kelsey was the Producer and Assistant Director for Marion’s short film, “Goddess House”. She holds a Bachelor’s Degree from Oberlin College in Studio Art and Africana Studies.
ZAF YUMRU (associate producer, chief marketing officer)
is originally from Istanbul, Turkey, where he worked as the marketing manager and programmer for !f Istanbul Independent Film Festival for 7 years while running a boutique PR & marketing agency dedicated to film, arts & culture.
He moved to New Orleans in July 2017 and joined the New Orleans Film Society team as the marketing and communications manager. He's still trying to figure out if he likes kebab or po-boys better.
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