An ongoing local film, “He Looked Like a Postcard,” is a Detroit love story with the woman behind its screenplay. Local writer and producer Jessica Care Moore portrays a poet like her.
She and director Qasim Bassir, also from Detroit, edit and add music to scenes shot locally last September and October. “We are always working hard…to do something beautiful,” Moore said on Facebook. “I can’t wait for you to meet Serendipity and Motown”, the main characters.
The urban romance is about a successful corporate graffiti artist, played by New York’s Tobias Truvillion, and his relationship with “a famous poet who returns to Detroit with her 10-year-old son, Idris, to find peace. , balance and inspiration in it”. city,” as Moore puts it. (She uses the lowercase style for her name.)
The real-life writer, Cody High graduate born and raised here, is a famous singer-songwriter who is raising a 15-year-old son (King Thomas Moore) in the Boston-Edison neighborhood and has returned to its roots after a bang in New York. She garnered national attention by winning “It’s Showtime at the Apollo”, a syndicated television variety show (1987-2008), five times in a row.
“I wrote a story of self-love,” she posted last month.
Earlier, the West Side told Jasmine Graham of BLAC Detroit magazine:
“The project is loosely based on my returning to Detroit from New York, trying to figure out how to get my life back after being gone for 12 years. How do I make a living in a city that has little or no infrastructure to support How can I make a living in Detroit when there’s apparently no one my age making a living doing what I do?
“It’s also a love story between a poet named Serendipity and a graffiti artist named Motown from the city, and about mothers pushing through the noise of traditional bullshit of what motherhood is like, and what it’s like to be a black artist in the city.”
On social media last weekend, Moore said, “I wrote the Motown and Serendipity characters many years ago. It took this pandemic to slow me down just enough to get back to that storyline.”
Playing Serendipity is obviously beyond the reach of its creator alter-ego, although a skateboarding scene is new and spooky. But this daring girl from Detroit is no stranger to stretching skills and risk-taking, so a one-two isn’t how she rolls. “I try not to break my ass,” she says with a minute-long Dequindre Cut skate lesson clip.
Indoor locations include the Irwin House gallery on West Grand Boulevard, the Hamilton Gallery in Highland Park, and The Kitchen restaurant in New Center.
There’s no word yet on a release date, screenings, or distributor for the indie film.
moore is executive producer and Samantha Basir, wife of the director, is associate producer. (“So many badass women on the production, design and production side,” Moore writes.)
The cast includes Cody’s classmate Nichole “Nicci” Gilbert, founder and lead singer of a Grammy-nominated R&B trio called Brownstone (1994-98), and Los Angeles comedian-actor Omar Regan, a native Detroiter who went west at 19.
Moore’s past accomplishments include published poetry collections, a 2016 Kresge Arts Fellowship in Detroit, DIA and NAACP awards, and appearances on Russell Simmons’ HBO series “Def Poetry Jam.” Turning a story into a film is something new.
Diary of a “love letter”
Thoughtful social media posts from last summer actually serve as a shooting diary. Below are excerpts from his public updates on this “huge leap forward for me.”
August 24, 2021: “It’s only the beginning”
This is my first time writing and producing a film, and I’m so touched by the process. Learn how investing works, but above all understand and know my value. There is always a risk, but I never lose when I bet on myself.
This film is a love letter to artists, to working mothers who make art, to painters, to writers, to women and to my city. We’re making a love affair in Detroit.
It’s a huge step forward for me as a writer. I’m officially a writer and producer and this is just the beginning.
August 25: Forced to ‘face some fears’
How this happened was just a divine command and I’m so grateful and touched by this process of growing for me as an artist.
When Q [director Qasim Basir] met me about my script, I was ready to take notes. It took me a few minutes to realize that he wanted to make it!
The next question he asked me would force me to confront some fears. “So you’re going to be in it?” I quickly said “No” and then talked about coaching someone else for the role of Serendipity. He let me have it.
We carried on and I could hardly sleep for 24 hours.
I was writing myself from my own story. I was doing what Hollywood might do to a black actress in her 40s. I was tripping. I called Q and asked him to come clean with me, “Did you ask me if I wanted to do the part because you think I want to be in a movie or do you think I can really do the part?”
Q said, “You have to do the movie. No one can tell this story better than you.”
Never stray from your own story.
September 22: “Love this new hat”
Learning to do something new is a very daring act when you’re an adult.
I take advantage and claim this new experience in the film industry. I have been producing live art events, concerts, conversations, multimedia theater performances for a very long time now. It was always an extension of my job, so honestly, I never considered it a real skill. It was just my way of existing, the way I dug a necessary space for my voice and the voices of other artists.
So, I love this new movie production and screenwriting hat. I love all of the nuance, drama, patience, language and creativity that goes into making a film.
I have raised funds from people who believe in my work as a poet, thinker, woman and art producer who speaks to the hearts of people who are often overlooked and overwhelmed.
I am so grateful to the people who have invested so much in my work.
November 13: “You never know who will show up”
I wrote the first draft of my screenplay ten years ago. I knew film would eventually be a path for me as a writer, but I also know how hard it is for my filmmaker friends to get to the finish line. I’ve been producing and organizing cultural, theater and music productions for a few decades, but I’m best known as a poet – and an unabashedly connected to the people, a daughter of the black arts movement.
For many years I have spoken, performed, inspired students on college campuses across the country and abroad. One of the leaders and thinkers who supported me throughout this journey was my brother Lasana Hotep. It allowed me to bring my Black Women Rock program to Skyline College [in San Bruno, Calif.] and brought me to campus for keynote speeches wherever he worked.
More importantly, he was my very first executive producer on “He Looked Like a Postcard”. I was in San Francisco visiting family and he stopped by to see me and my son. I casually told him that I was going to shoot my first film.
He then asked, “Did you write it?” I said yes.
Without a script or a “deck” or anything else, he said, “I’m in”. six digits, [that] type [of] IN.
Her belief in me gave me the confidence to start reaching out to people to get on board and be a part of something very beautiful and necessary.
That’s not the only gushing story attached to this film. … I learned so much in this process, especially that you never know who will show up for you.
My film was not financed by my wealthy friends. He was backed by a small group of amazing people from different walks of life who liked my script or knew my value as an artist.
December 23: “Enriching, difficult”
Producing a feature film has been one of the most rewarding and challenging accomplishments of my artistic career. I love it.
Photos of the writer and the team: