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Thursday, June 18, 2009

The Mourning After

Here is an inside look at the upcoming film "The Mourning After" directed by Lawrence "Law" Watford.

The film is "The Mourning After"… It’s the story of two corporate executives who were supposed to be in the World Trade Center on 9/11, but instead were in a near by hotel room having an affair. They reunite 3 years later, still deeply affected by the event and why they survived.

The script is an adaptation of a one-act play, written by David Ray. Lawrence’s grad school classmate. "I always loved the story. I was there when David pitched it back in film school. The challenge for David and I was figuring out how to make the most tragic event in U.S. history a backdrop and not the story itself."

The script was originally written in 2002 and was a finalist in’s short screenplay competition in 2004. But while there was a lot of interest in the topic, nobody thought it was a safe bet as a film…

In 2005 Lawrence contacted David after he completed his last film "A Christmas Wish" and asked if the script was still available… It was and Lawrence immediately began the development… His first target was pitching to actress, Nia Long in 2005. "Melvin Van Peebles introduced me to her at the American Black Film Festival, where "A Christmas Wish" premiered… I asked her if she was interested in producing and she said yes and went from there, but it didn’t develop pass that point"… the project needed funding.

Before he knew it years had passed. During that time, he brought on some friends to help in the development, but the lack of funding made it impossible keep them from other immediate and pressing commitments out in LA.

As more time passed, and having no new material to show Law became antsy and began to randomly reach out to Hollywood talent in the hope that they’d be as attracted to the dramatic nature of the project as he was. "I know that there are a lot of well-known actors in Hollywood, who are pigeon-holed into comedies, or adventure, or television and I was hoping that one of them would see the project as mutually beneficial… I provide them with material that allows them to really demonstrate their chops and they provide me with the celebrity that will help me get the film out in major film festivals"

Law’s efforts eventually paid off when actress Keesha Sharp (Girlfriends) decided to come on board. "Before she came on, there was no project. Just a lot of hope. But once she said she was in, the shoot date became whenever she was free and the budget became whatever I could raise to make it happen"

In an effort to make it worth Sharp’s journey from LA to New York, Law began to search for another Hollywood male to co-star. To help in that effort he brought on talent agent Angela Gulizio, of G&G Talent. "I met Angela on the set of "I Am Legend" and we hit it off. She’s tough and no nonsense, but a genuinely good person who I felt I could trust"

Lawrence and Angela began contacting talent reps, who he thought were attracted to the "audacity" of the concept and the script. "we had interest from Kevin Bacon’s reps, as well as Adam Beach (Flags of Our Fathers). The last meeting we had was with Malik Yoba. We had a great lunch and we were close, but his schedule didn’t allow for him to participate"

In the end it would be the intense and fast approaching schedule, coupled with an inflexible budget that would leave his film starless.

Law would eventually pull from his friends and the production became a cast and crew of familiars, with some new additions. "The crew was fantastic! We shoot for 5 days with a crew of 5, plus 2 interns… but in the end, everyone, including the actors were taking on crew positions"

Law admits that the schedule was grueling, with one day going as long as 17 hours. "It was the hardest thing I’ve ever done, and I know that a no budget indies are like that, but I can’t wait for the day when I can do this as a low budget idie with 14 hour days and three weeks to shoot"

With the film almost ready for release, Law is hoping to score big, with a spot at the major national and international film festivals, where he hopes the subject of 9/11, along with the films intense drama would connect will audiences.

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