By DARLENE DENSTORFF
Ascension section editor
The street in front of the River Road African American Museum will be transformed into an outdoor movie theater for the museum’s first local film festival set to kick off on Sept 24.
L’applause: The Louisiana Black Film Festival kicks off at 7 p.m. with the showing of Zora Neal Hurston: Jump at the Sun, Kathe Hambrick Jackson, RRAAM executive director, said.
The film is an 83-minute biography of Hurston, a celebrated and controversial voice of the 1920s Harlem Renaissance, Jackson said.
The fall film festival, to be held at 406 Charles St. in Donaldsonville, will also feature a red-carpet event honoring Ascension residents who were in the movie “Hush … Hush, Sweet Charlotte,” which was filmed at Houmas House Plantation and Gardens; and host a special Halloween-night event for children.
The Halloween-night event will include a children’s costume contest and showing of “The Princess and the Frog.”
“Hush … Hush Sweet Charlotte” will be shown during the annual Donaldsonville Avenue Evening Stroll on Nov. 12 along Railroad Avenue.
Jackson is compiling a list of actors, actresses and anyone in any aspect of the “Hush … Hush Sweet Charlotte” and other movies and television shows filmed in the area.
“We’re celebrating the history of not only the films, but the people who were involved in the making of films in the parish,” Jackson said.
The Nov. 12 showing will include a red-carpet celebration honoring Donaldsonville residents Aline Jackson and Larry Graves; former Darrow resident Eloise Graves Forman, and the late James Owens and Joyce Soule — who were all in the movie which starred actersesses Bette Davis and Olivia de Havilland, Joseph Cotten, and Agnes Moorehead.
She said that as many as 83 area residents took part in the filming of the movie. Jackson said she would like to honor all residents in the movie and the families of those who are deceased.
“This is our history and we want to honor and thank all of these people for their contributions,” Jackson said.
The Nov. 12 event will also honor Donaldsonville resident August Bradford for his part in documenting the history of Donalsonville through film.
Jackson hosted a film festival in Baton Rouge a few years ago, but said she wanted to bring the festival to Donaldsonville, the home of her museum.
The first film of the fall series, “Jump at the Sun,” tells the story of Hurston, who was a folklorist, author and cultural anthropologist of folk roots and ethnic traditions and was considered one of America’s preeminent writers of African-American literature, Jackson said.
She was born the daughter of a former slave who became the mayor of Eatonville, Fla. In 1918, Hurston began undergraduate studies at Howard University. Hurston left Howard in 1924 and in 1925 was offered a scholarship to Barnard College and became the college’s first black student.
In addition to her original anthropological recordings, “Jump at the Sun” includes rare archival film footage of the rural South and interviews with Alice Walker, Dorothy West, Henry Louis Gates Jr., Maya Angelou, and people who knew Hurston personally. Of Hurston’s four novels and more than 50 published short stories, plays, and essays, she is best known for her 1937 novel “Their Eyes Were Watching God.”
Anyone who was an actor, extra or playing any other role in movies filmed in Ascension or in the River Parishes can call Jackson at (225) 474-5553 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
List of movies and television shows filmed in Ascension Parish
“The Curious Case of Benjamin Button”
“All the King’s Men”
“Because of Winn Dixie”
“A Loss of the Teardrop Diamond”
“Hush…, Hush Sweet Charlotte” (1964)
“Longstreet: (TV series, 1971-72)
“Moon of the Wolf) (1972”
“A Closer Walk) (1976)
“Big Bob Johnson and his Fantastic Speed Circus” (1978)
“A Woman Called Moses” (1979)
“All My Children” (1981)
“Fletch Lives” (1988)
“Snow Wonder” (2006)
“K’ville” (TV Series, 2007)
“Revenge of the Bridesmaids” (2010)
“Love, Marriage, Wedding” (2010)
“The Beguiled” (1971)
“Fletch Lives” (1989)
“The Autobiography of Miss “Jane Pittman” (1974)
“Band of Angels” (1957)
“Dark Heritage” (1989