2014 Highlight – Closing Night Film Blackbird

Blackbird – Directed by Patrik-Ian Polk

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Mo’Nique poses on the PAFF 2014 Closing Night red carpet for the film “Blackbird” Mo’Nique makes a brilliant return to the big screen since her Oscar award winning performance in “Precious.” Also alongside Mo’Nique, Isaiah Washington graces us with his presence on the big screen whose many works include TV’s Grey’s Anatomy and Romeo Must Die. The writer-director of the film, Patrik-Ian Polk, is known for his sizzling pieces that delve into the passionate lives of black gay men. Both, Mo’Nique and Isaiah Washington were producers on the film along with Mo’Nique’s husband Sidney Hicks.

Directed by Patrik-Ian Polk. Based on the novel by Larry Duplechan, this film is a powerful coming-of-age story about 17-year-old Randy Rousseau. A devout high school choir boy, Randy is struggling to come to terms with his sexuality in a small, religiously-conservative Mississippi town he calls home. Randy juggles his role as star of the church choir while facing the everyday trials of life as a high school misfit.

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Complicating matters, his little sister has gone missing and his parents have subsequently split up, leaving him to care for Claire; his heartbroken mother. When Claire discovers the shocking secret her son has been hiding, she blames him for the disappearance of his sister. Randy’s father, Lance, who has been keeping a watchful eye on his broken family, steps in to give his son a hand as he struggles to make the difficult transition into manhood. Stars Oscar-winner Mo’Nique (“Precious”) and veteran actor Isaiah Washington, fresh off his critically-acclaimed and Gotham Award-nominated performance in “Blue Caprice.” Also stars Terrell Tilford, Julian Walker, Gary L. Gray, Kevin Allesee, Torrey Laamar, Nikki Jane and D. Woods.

Blackbird’s producers expressed:

 “’Blackbird’ is a film about the choices people are forced to make as they struggle to figure out how to be themselves,” Hicks said. “And why should just being who you are be a struggle? Since Mo’Nique won the Oscar, we have received a flood of scripts, but nothing captured our attention until Isaiah — who we have a high level of respect for — sent us ‘Blackbird.’”

Mo’Nique and Washington have said:

“Just trying to get the message out about acceptance,” Mo shared. “It seems like every week somebody is coming out saying ‘I’m gay.’ It’s people saying ‘I’m tired of being in prison just within myself.’  We hope that at the end of this film people walk away and say, ‘people just want to be loved.’” He was candid about the potential backlash that he felt the film would create during an interview with Hip Hollywood. “I’m going to have a lot of people mad at me. The Black church is going to be hot,” Washington shared. “But I like it hot. I want people to be mad because if your mad, your mouth is going to be open and I’m going to be able to slip some truth into it.”

Blackbird deeply moved viewers during its PAFF 2014 screening. Not only did the film excel through its story telling– but it also profoundly captured an experience that is often taboo in the African-American community. Support this great film by viewing the trailer below.