Producer Tressa Azarel Smallwood of MegaMind Media has teamed with BET Networks on a new BET Her initiative for four female-centric original short films, which will be directed by prominent African American Hollywood stars Sheryl Lee Ralph (Sister Act 2), Kim Fields (Living Single), Vanessa Bell Calloway (Coming to America) and Victoria Rowell (Dumb and Dumber).
Shooting began this week in Maryland. The 20-minute dramatic shorts will cover a range of vital topics to today’s Black families ranging from breast cancer to mental health. The films will live under the BET Her “Her Stories” franchise, a platform to empower the next generation of Black women filmmakers.
“Even though I’ve licensed films to BET previously, being chosen to produce these crucial initiatives with all African-American women is such an honor,” said Smallwood.
“BET Her is dedicated to telling stories that support and celebrate Black women in front of and behind the camera as well as bringing awareness to important issues directly affecting the Black community,” said Lorisa Bates, VP Content Strategy, Co-Productions, and Multiplatform. “We are proud to be the platform for these powerful stories and of the work that our female talent has put into these projects that are ever so timely.”
See the project descriptions below.
Title Baby Blue
Director: Kim Fields;
Written by Nakia Stephens
Cast: Shaquita Smith and Traci Braxton
“Baby Blue” drops us into the world of a first-time mother who after giving birth to her son, spirals from mild post-partum depression into severe post-partum psychosis. While she gets support with the baby, we see the heart-wrenching consequences of her not getting support for her mental well-being.
Title: A Long Look in the Mirror
Director: Vanessa Bell Calloway
Written by Deshawn Plair and Sade Oyinade
Cast: Golden Brooks
It tells the story of a broken mother-daughter relationship that is tested to the limits after the youth-obsessed mother receives a cancer diagnosis and struggles to cope with the disease.
Title: Like, Comment, Subscribe
Director: Sheryl Lee Ralph
Written by Shateka Johnson
Cast: Jasmine Luv and Victoria Rowell.
It follows a wedding vlogger and bride-to-be herself as she chronicles her journey after she is diagnosed with Stage II breast cancer. Through her journey, we will see the ups, the downs, and the love shared with her fiancé.
Title: Everything is Fine
Director: Victoria Rowell
Written by Dez White,
Cast: Charmin Lee, Malachi Malik, Vernon Davis
It shows the charmed life of an affluent Black family that seem to have it all but faces a challenge with their estranged son who struggles to hold onto reality with the confidential help of his younger sister.
Baby Blue and Everything is Fine are slated to air on BET Her Networks July 25.