Wednesday, August 29, 2012
Georgetown native DeShantell Singleton, who was born and raised in the Plantersville area, has received a grant to create her second short film, “La Nanita.”
She received an Indie Grant from The South Carolina Film Commission to help complete the project, but is asking the public for help to cover her out-of-pocket expenses.
She has started an online fundraising campaign through indiegogo.com/lananita.
“Every cent that I receive, either from the grant or individual donors goes to the movie pre-production and post production,” Singleton said.
That includes paying her crew, some professionals and some students of Trident Technical College, and any showings after the movie is made, she said.
The storyline of the movie is: “A defense attorney’s good intentions backfire after defending a woman on trial for the death of her son. After an unexpected visit from the client goes awry, his motive for requesting her case is revealed and so is his new-found fear.” Singleton came up with the idea for the film after attending the Charleston International Film Festival.
“I went there because I knew I was going to apply for the grant and I wanted to see what the competition was coming up with,” Singleton said. “I don’t know how may filmmakers know about the Indie Grant Program, but filmmakers in South Carolina should definitely apply.”
The Indie Grant Program works in partnership with Trident Technical College, which allows South Carolina filmmakers to improve the quality of their work and Trident Tech students to work with professionals on a real movie project, explained Indie Grant Coordinator Stephanie Stockton.
Stockton said Singleton’s film was one of only three chosen for the 2012 grant.
“It was a competitive process this year,” Stockton said. “We decided to focus all of our resources on a smaller number of films, which will enable us to put more resources and support behind each one.”
Roberta Munroe, the producer of the film, is overseeing the entire production. She has produced 20 short films, one of which — “The Debutante Hunters” by Maria White — won the Audience Award for Best Short at the Sundance Film Festival.
And she has written a book, “How Not to Make a Short Film: Secrets from a Sundance Programmer.” Munroe said she is excited about Singleton’s movie.
“I think DeShantell is really talented and this is a really great story that I haven’t seen before,” Munroe said. “You hear about tragic stories between mothers and children, but when people rise above the tragedy, they offer the world something really great.”
“La Nanita” is the second film Singleton has written and directed.
Her first, "Before He Fell," was filmed back in 2010 with the help of donations from friends and family members, including her mother and her uncle, Donald Singleton, who gave generously of his time, talent (he was an extra in the film), and money. It was shot at various locations in the Plantersville community.
Singleton is the daughter of Thelma Greggs, a Georgetown County School District employee. Her step-dad, Ervin Greggs Sr., works at the International Paper Company.
Marlo Frazier, a local teacher and dance instructor, has been Singleton’s mentor since her teenage years.
They met when Frazier taught for a career development summer program through the Job Training Partnership Act in the Plantersville Community.
Frazier helped Singleton get accepted into the Governor’s School for Arts and Humanities summer program during her high school years and is pleased with her progress.
“I think DeShantell has done a wonderful job,” Frazier said. “I am very proud of her.”
Singleton will be posting a casting notice in the near future. Interested actors can go to the website, AscendingMediaProductions.com or simply press 'like' on Facebook at facebook.com/AscendingMediaProductions to receive instant updates about the audition.
To contact DeShantell Singleton, call 888-315-4AMP. To make a donation to help make this short film, visit indiegogo.com/lananita. To learn more about the Indie Grant, visit http://filmsc.com/training/grant/indie/default.aspx.
By Clayton Stairs