Grambling grad helps filmmaking return to Louisiana

Magnolia Film & Production Company is joining forces with Catch 22 Films & Video Production for a one year contract to produce Dr. Nancy B. Shepard’s next two motion pictures, 99 Pounds: The Rows to a Dream and Birds Gotta Fly.

The joint venture is the culmination of Louisiana’s efforts to bring motion picture production back to the state, as well as prepare new filmmakers and performers for the entertainment industry.

Dr. Shepard is a graduate of Grambling State University and earned her master’s and specialist degrees at McNeese State University in Lake Charles. She earned her Ph.D. in creative writing at the Union Institute & University in Cincinnati.

She is a published author and poetess. She is the author of 17 books, three booklets, three screenplays, and seven children’s books. She is also the author of two national poems for Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, "Zetas White Doves" and "A Zeta Lady."

In 1984 she was inducted into the Worlds Fair National Hall of Fame. She is founder of the Nancy Shepard Dance Company and Magnolia Film & Production Company.

Dr. Shepard has signed on with Sheldon Skinner of Catch 22 Films & Video Production to work the local and national talent and crew professionals, utilizing the current tax incentives for investor and labor credits.

99 Pounds is a work in which Shepard blends themes of personal growth and maturity with estimations of racial barriers and social climates in the United States. These ideas are communicated through the story of an ambitious young man named Willie Joe and his perspective on the experience of being African-American, by pinpointing the cultural changes and motivations that sparked the consciousness of the era.

Starring Dr. Tommie Steward, aka, Tonea, known for her dramatic role as Aunt Essie, the senior citizen in In The Heat of The Night in the early ’90s, and she also starred in Rosa Parks, a movie for television in 2004 with Angela Bassett.

Shooting is tentatively scheduled for May 2006. Some principle locations for shooting are Lafayette, Pointe Coupee And Baton Rouge. Currently, "99 Pounds: The Rows to a Dream" is in pre-production.