Mad and Persistent Realities

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: Narrative Short
GENRE: Drama
STATUS: Pre-Production


On a volunteer trip abroad a young black woman deals with racial tensions among a group of seemingly white progressives.


A young black woman arrives to an island on a “voluntourism” trip with a group of seemingly white progressives.  What begins as an uncomfortable look at an outsider unfolds to reveal the often times insidiousness of racism.


Mad and Persistent Realities is inspired by travel experiences abroad, and the realism as it relates to black life at the backdrop of places in the world that are still grappling with post-colonial legacies.  Often times, films imbued with racial themes focus on the extreme, Mad and Persistent Realities seeks to challenge the subtle.  The film acts as a lens, a sort of surveillance into the interactions of these characters taking place in this particular setting.  An uncovering of evidence, psychological evidence that leads us to a reservoir of their innermost feelings, beliefs and values.  Acknowledging these profound subtle experiences, the film aims to offer us access to a new relationship with what pains us and what needs revising in hopes to expand our collective consciousness, and contribute to a shift however great or small in the trajectory of our collective journey of healing.

Underlying the dissonance between the protagonist and the other volunteers is the culture of the native people, their spirit, work ethic, indigenous wisdom, sexuality and cultural preservation.  This film alludes to Western presence in places where tourism constitutes a large part of the economy.   We don’t see the long-term effects on the children, the community, how it shifts or destabilizes the culture in the long run, but rather we plant those seeds to begin to look at this dynamic that is taking place more and more around the world today.

As a person, who in a number of ways finds herself on the periphery in her own country,  Writer/Director Antoinette seeks to tell stories through imagery that foster critical thinking about identity, and cultural assumptions and the circumstances under which they have to be modified or completely discarded.

Also influenced by neorealism in cinema and its emphasis of how the structure of systems; political, economic and social affect behavior or vice versa, Antoinette is fueled by the transformative and revolutionary power of film.  Mad and Persistent Realities is a film intended to engage us in more nuanced discussions about race, cultural complexity, identity and truth telling.


Antoinette A. Brock - Writer and Director

Antoinette Brock is an artist, writer and filmmaker based in Los Angeles, California. In 2013 during her time living in the Vidigal favela in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil she created Don.t Throw Away the Crust, a brand dedicated to documenting the compelling stories of the marginalized people of the world. Her unwavering journey to uncovering the best parts of society has always lead her to the 'crust,' a metaphor she uses for those whose culture and stories are often discarded as the unwanted part of society, when in fact it’s the best part. In 2016, her documentary series The Name Project was exhibited in the Smithsonian Arts and Industries building in Crosslines: A Culture Lab on Intersectionality.  Her work has also been exhibited in the Leica gallery in Los Angeles and at 3331 Arts Chiyoda in Tokyo, Japan where she completed an artist residency.  Her work has appeared in the Huffington Post and Uproxx, for which she filmed an episode highlighting Jail Guitar Doors, a program designed to rehabilitate those incarcerated across America, through music. Most recently she worked on the documentary of artist David Wojnarowicz with World of Wonder Productions. Antoinette studied at Howard University. She continues to travel documenting the most compelling stories and remaining sanguine about shifting perspectives; a prerequisite to compassion.

Taylor Craig - Producer
Taylor Craig was born and raised in Los Angeles, CA. She is currently a producer at World of Wonder Productions. She has worked on feature films and both scripted and unscripted television programming. She genuinely enjoys being a part of each and every step that goes into creating a successful film or television series. She is ready to bring her knowledge and experience to this project with hopes of creating the next big feature everyone in Hollywood can’t stop talking about!

John Simmons ASC - Cinematographer

John Simmons, ASC studied art at Fisk University and Cinematography at the University of Southern California (USC). He is a member of the American Society of Cinematographers (ASC) since 2004, serving as one of the vice presidents in 2017 and 2018. John has worked behind the camera since the early 1970’s shooting documentaries with film director Carlton Moss. He moved to music videos, commercials and features. He was an Adjunct Professor in the Television/Film and Theater Department at UCLA for twenty-five years and continues to mentor many up and coming cinematographers. Simmons’s introduction to television began with movies made for TV. The Killing Yard, The Ruby Bridges Story, Selma Lord Selma and numerous independent and network documentaries including PBS, Showtime and HBO. His first multi-camera prime time show was The Hughley’s which began an illustrious career in multi camera sitcoms. Simmons has earned three Emmy nominations; twice for the Disney series PAIR OF KINGS for two consecutive years. In 2016 John won the Best Cinematography Emmy for the Nickelodeon prime time multi camera series NICKY, RICKY, DICKY AND DAWN. He is presently doing shows for Netflix. John Simmons has photographs in the permanent collections at Harvard Art Museums, Harvard University, High Museum of Fine Art, Atlanta GA, Houston Museum of Fine Art, Houston, TX, David C. Driskell Center, University of Marilyn, and the Wesley and Missy Cochran Foundation.

Elise Peterson - Production Designer

Elise Peterson (b. 1988 Washington, D.C.) is an interdisciplinary artist working in installation, sculpture, collage and moving image. Her work analyzes how identity interacts with varying sociopolitical factors and is informed by the past, reimagined in the framework of the evolving notions of technology, intimacy and cross-generational narratives and intrapersonal discourse.  Peterson has shown in Institutional and Gallery group exhibitions internationally, chief amongst them including Baie Saint Paul Museum of Contemporary Art, Quebec, The Studio Museum in Harlem: Reading Room, Rutgers University, New Jersey, Paul Kasmin Gallery New York,  Suite 7a Gallery, Australia, Baxter St Gallery, 3125C Los Angeles.  Socially, it is her aim to continue to use art as a platform for social justice while making art accessible for all through exhibitions of public work and beyond.  Public works include Central Park, New York Manhattan Bridge, Fort Gansevoort, Baie Saint Paul, Orchard St. Mural, NY. Peterson has also worked as Production Designer for several short films including the award winning, And Nothing Happened, which screened most notably at Black Star Film Festival and Slamdance.  Peterson studied at Howard University and Parsons School of Design, and lives and works in Los Angeles, CA.


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