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Union City film director confronts cultural reactions to mental illness in psychological
Cedric Hill and multi-cultural cast and crew of 'Dongmei' begin shooting August 1
Hill and New Jersey screenwriter Bob Messinger are bringing "Dongmei" to the screen in association with Hill's production company, To and Fro Productions (http://toandfroproductions.com/)
"Every culture has its own way of dealing with mental illness, not always in the most productive of ways," says Hill. By assembling a multi-cultural and multi-lifestyle cast and crew, Hill plans to bring the experiences of all production members into play to best depict the story's premise, and he says it appears to be working.
"The first rehearsals proved our thinking right," exclaims Hill. "The discussions were open and revealing, and the subsequent readings reflected the process."
Heidi Li ("The Spectacular Jihad of Taz Rahim," "Yellow Fever") plays the title character, Dongmei, whose confrontation with a couple of thugs triggers a psychotic episode, landing her in the psych ward. Jorge Consejo, known for his roles in Spanish-language film and television, plays opposite her as a psychiatrist with his own issues who battles with Dongmei to figure out why the confrontation triggered her psychotic episode.
"We've attached Jack Solomon as our Director of Photography,"
Hill, who also serves as executive producer on the project, is a native of Dominica. An active professor at the New York Film Academy, his credits include "Great with Nothing," "The Service List: NYC," "My Great Great Aunt on My Stepfather's Side Through Marriage," "The Story of Milo & Annie," "R.W.D: Red, White and Detroit," and many others.
A graduate of St. Benedict's Prep in Newark, Hill strives to maintain close ties to the community. He is affiliated with the Theater Department at Rutgers-Newark and is deeply involved with the Institute on Ethnicity, Culture, and the Modern Experience on that campus. He works with noted anti-bullying crusader and performer Pandora Scooter to help her get her message across to both the bullied and the bullies. He also works with returning vets to help them readjust. He has written a screenplay called "Acceptable Losses," which deals with the sacrifice veterans make both at home and on the battlefield.
" Telling stories that allow conversation on issues that are very real and never talked about enough... that's what I like to do," says Hill.
Currently in pre-production, "Dongmei" is scheduled to begin shooting on August 1.
The film is being financed entirely by a crowdfunding campaign. Sponsors of the arts are encouraged to support the project by visiting https://www.indiegogo.com/
Co-stars Heidi Li and Jorge Consejo listen to directions from Cedric Hill.