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I write for my own and others TV projects and films scripts. Presently, I'm finishing up producing and directing my third documentary. This one's on Leah Chase, the Queen of Creole Cuisine. This should be on TV in the Fall of 2016.
I had a wonderful experience making a film on Rep. Lindy Boggs, (Cokie Robert's mother), who's Louisiana's best loved politician, and everyone knows Louisiana has a host of colorful ones. "Lindy Boggs: Steel and Velvet" premiered at the National Archives in Washington before it went on to its national broadcast run on PBS. While making the film, I interviewed many notable political figures, such as, House Speaker, Nancy Pelosi D-CA, Civil Rights icon, Rep. John Lewis D-GA, TV and Radio personalities, Nina Totenberg, and Cokie and Steve Roberts - to name a few, who graciously appeared in my film on Lindy Boggs.
I started out producing and writing in my mid-30s, when I made a very controversial film that chronicled the controversial candidacy of the former Grand Wizard of the KKK, David Duke, while he was running for the United States Senate. During the making of "Backlash: Race and the American Dream", I followed Duke on the campaign trail for about a year (the present day Trump rallies cause me uncomfortable flashbacks!) and my film focused on Duke's supporters with the answer to this primary question posed and answered in many interesting ways.
"Why are you supporting David Duke, a candidate with a controversial past who's running for the United States Senate?" What I heard many times was quite sad and born out of their own hard luck stories - they seemed to be unwilling for anyone else to get a break, until they'd gotten theirs - first. The followers of David Duke's were all white, mostly men, and Duke's campaign was at a time when Affirmative Action was moving forward nationally in hiring and educational opportunities. Duke wielded affirmative action as proof of a national conspiracy against white men, and nearly everyone I'd talked to had bought it. Racism fueled their attraction to Duke, because they felt by giving him the power he'd do something about "The Others", who were taking their jobs and keeping their children from scholarships. In their minds for their day to day survival, Duke had fanned their racial prejudices with the ultimate fear of poverty that translated to loss of their manhood. It was Us versus Them in their minds for bread on their table, was over and over again I was struck by how desperately they said it.
"Backlash" premiered on the eve of the Democratic National Convention on PBS and received a wonderful write up and review in the New York Times.
I was 35 yrs old at the time I followed the KKK around. I had no idea being reviewed in the NYT's for a film I'd produced wouldn't be an all the time and every time I made a film occurrence! Ah! It hasn't happened since! But I've won some great awards and enjoyed every film film I've ever made.
In addition to running Blackbird Media, I own a wonderful rustic getaway known as the Forest Retreat, www.forestretreat.com, that's on the edge of a national forest not too far from New Orleans and very near Natchez, Mississippi. I have four wonderful Adirondack style houses for rent there. My place is an old church turned country lodge.
Life is interesting and the food and scenery is always good!
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Unique traits: I have a deep knowledge of the music, food, politics and culture of New Orleans and the Deep South. Yes, I survived two natural disasters, Katrina and BP Oil Spill and worked on many projects after those (I hope!) once in a lifetime events. Years of producing documentaries, public affairs television and political commercials for winning political figures, as well as, my own executive produced projects, I have an extensive reach into many, many interesting areas and proven contacts in the criminal justice system, city and state government, and with environmental advocates and scientists, musicians and literary figures and chefs. Because I love the cities and countryside of Louisiana and my neighboring states, I have done field producing and location scouting for TV series producers or film directors coming here to shoot. My motto for series producers on a tight deadline and looking for people in the know, such as, hard to get to politicians and well known musicians, to the unusual voices and opinions of voodoo queens (yes, that's happened!) I say the same thing - No problem, I can get you that person. Either because I've interviewed them before for my own films, or because I know a woman or man who does.. My similar can do theme for producers and directors here for location scouting is: IF YOU DREAM IT I CAN FIND IT! With longstanding contacts all over the Deep South, I'm in the know with the well known and not so well known unusual characters living in our richly textured locations. Give me a call: 504-202-1504 and Bess@Blackbirdmediatv.com
Leah Chase: Faith, Family & Food
Documentary by Blackbird Media producer/writer
LOUISIANA YEAR OF MUSIC
Music by Lt. Gov Jay Dardenne, CRT producer, location manager
NOLA NAVY WEEK
Television by NOTMC Producer/Location Manager
BUFFALO SOLDIER’S HONOR
Film (short) by NOCCI Producer/Location Manager