Jerico

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Best friends, Jerico Walker and Jarvis Cook , set out on the morning of the signing of the civil rights act of 1964 with aspiration to capture the newly available Paper Press Manager promotion. But when their car breaks down all hell breaks loose. With the dangers and bias’s of the Jim Crow south in rural Mississippi, along with a menacing lynch mob in hot pursuit, a simple trip to work become an epic journey.

Jerico is an dramatic comedy that satirizes the dogma of our racial American history in an effort to open communication to overcome racial division. Husband and Wife team, Director Seckeita Lewis and Writer Brandon Lewis bring a fresh story that will make you laugh, cry, and think.

Director Biography

Seckeita Lewis is a new filmmaker born and raised in the city of Chicago, but currently living in the Dallas Fort Worth area. As a kid she was fascinated with special effects and movie magic. After seeing the movie FX , where robotics and programming were showcased as a part of the toolbox for the MaGyuver like star, she learned about animatronics, and was sold. It led her to a Bachelor’s and Master’s level education in Engineering and a lucrative career, but she found herself far from her passion of entertainment. She then shifted careers to Marketing to be more creative and learned about the art of storytelling from a different perspective through commercials and short form content. But something was still missing, she had stories she wanted to tell and bring to life from her own perspective.

Fate lead her to meet her husband and filmmaking partner, Brandon Lewis in 2008. After meeting Brandon and hearing a encouraging speech from icon Robert Townsend at a film festival, Seckeita picked up her Handycam and shot and directed her first short film, Dog on Shame, written by and starring Brandon and their dog Sydney in 2012. The lighting was bad, color was off and audio was horrible, but the story was hilarious. Seckeita then started to study the craft of filmmaking to step up her game and co-directed their second comedic short, City of Dreams (also starring Brandon) and her first documentary, Reslilent, a thoughtful look at the Black Catholic Church through the eyes of a 75 year old local parish in 2013. Both films were selected for regional festivals, Houston Comedy Festival and the Texas Black Film Festival respectively. This success validated her and Brandon’s passion and skill. The husband and wife team then established their company, Lewis Taylor Productions and completed the script for their first feature film, Jerico.

Jerico is a dramatic comedy that follows the story of best friends on a dangerous, yet hilarious journey for advancement during the restrictions of the Jim Crow South of the 1960’s. The ultimate message of the film is that a cycle of violence doesn’t lead to progress. This comedic satire of our history is intended to unarm our audience to let down their guard and laugh, cry, and connect across color lines for an unforgettable story. Seckeita is excited to take this big step towards her dream and says, “We are all constantly evolving and growing, we can’t be afraid to follow our dreams, to step out on faith and go after it!” “Everything about our story is wrong. We shouldn’t have been able to make this film, to attract the talent we did, to raise the money, but we did. The story had to be told and is begging to reach the world.”

Director Statement

Directing Jerico was the hardest thing I have ever done. No degree or corporate role I have ever achieved has been anything like it. When people would ask what it was like, I would liken it to planning a wedding. Months of preparation for one day of performance where everything has to come together perfectly to be successful; from the napkins and plates to the flower girl and ring bearer that are sometimes afraid to walk down the aisle and need a little coaxing. They usually laugh and say they “Get it,” then I tell them, now imagine doing that for 16 weddings in a row, with no sleep, or limited time in between. That is when I get the look of horror, and I would laugh. It is the hardest thing I have ever done, but I can’t wait to do it again. There is nothing more exciting than seeing the scenes, the angles, the motions in my mind and then seeing it come to life on camera. Seeing the actors say my words, find the emotion of the scene and surprise me at times with their choices was incredibly rewarding.

Making this film started off as a comedic endeavor to showcase my husband’s skills, but it quickly turned into something all together more. We were inspired by the mix of emotions that were impacting us as the number of racially charged events have impacted our country. They shaped my choices, because of how each event twisted my insides. I find the making of this movie an incredible responsibility to share a perspective of how we can move forward as a country and repair the line that divides us racially. We poke fun at the ridiculousness and highly contradictory nature of who we are and challenge ourselves to stop repeating the cycle of violence. Honestly, I believe that is why an all star cast was drawn to the film and why I was given the honor of directing legends in the industry. When we reached out to their agents with nothing but our script, a small budget, and our personal story, they jumped at the opportunity to be a part of it. We pushed ourselves to do the impossible, make a truly independent film, willed by our dedication and fueled by the story. I hope that it impacts audiences the way that making the film has impacted us.

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