Saturday, April 2, 2011

April Marcel's Coming Out Party: Three Films

April at the podium in front of her movie.^
Aretha Day (white) prepares to interview actors as they arrive.^
April's daughter and star LaFawn Johnson walks the carpet.^
April knows what a producer looks like.^
April Marcel's coming out party was tonight at the Dana Center at Hollins University and it had show biz written all over it, down to the ruffles on April's shoes. April tends to milk the drama out of whatever situation she's in the middle of and this one was a clinic in theatricality.

Actor-Daughter Winter Johnson (green) interviewed.^
You may remember April as the woman who emerged from a writing contest I judged several years ago and wound up as a theater student at Hollins, where she earned a scholarship. She's the single mother of seven kids and is now 43 years old and scheduled to graduate in a few weeks. The event tonight was the premier of three of her films, all short and showing her range from drama to comedy. (April, by the way, has adopted an old family name, Marcel. She had been Drummond until recently and I went to the podium tonight to introduce her just having learned that handy fact. My remarks precede this photo essay.)

Her films tonight were "The Way to a Man's Heart" (which is a small part of a play she premiered at Studio Roanoke a few months ago),  a faux documentary, and a drama dealing with spouse abuse. The atmosphere was pure revival and there was considerable religious fervor in the films. April believes that the best way to spread her deep religious belief is through film and she's about as subtle as a bazooka with it.

She is also talented in the ways that will serve her well in the future. She directs, acts, writes, sings, produces and takes her turn behind the camera. Her film professor, Amy Gerber-Stroh, another introducer, sat with me and talked admiringly of April's accomplishment, not just her promise. Amy is a woman with quite a film portfolio and knows whereof she speaks.

It was a lovely evening for a lovely women. Celebrating April was easy. I suspect it won't be the last time.

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