Windy City Media Group Frontpage News

THE VOICE OF CHICAGO'S GAY, LESBIAN, BI, TRANS AND QUEER COMMUNITY SINCE 1985

home search facebook twitter join
Gay News Sponsor Windy City Times 2021-12-08
DOWNLOAD ISSUE
Donate

Sponsor


  WINDY CITY TIMES

Filmmaker B. Danielle Watkins discusses her 'Higher Spirit'
by Matt Simonette
2021-12-22

This article shared 716 times since Wed Dec 22, 2021
facebook twitter pin it google +1 reddit email


Although lesbian filmmaker/screenwriter/author B. Danielle Watkins has now made two films about Christmas, she admitted she really doesn't like movies that center on the holiday.

"My best friend and business partner, Onyx Keesha, loves them," Watkins explained. "She always comes to me and says, 'We should do a Christmas movie,' and I say no 90% of the time. … But COVID had hit. We were in lockdown and we needed something joyous for the holiday. So I said okay."

That second Christmas film—The Higher Spirit, co-directed by Watkins, Keesha and Gino Payne, and written by Watkins—is available to stream through Dec. 27 via Chicago-based PrideArts.

The Higher Spirit centers on a family headed by a Black lesbian couple, Manther and Ma Pat, as they head into the holiday season just as Ma Pat prepares to announce to their five adopted children that she is transgender—a revelation that Manther still has not yet come to terms with.

"We had already done a Christmas film about friends [2017's We Need a Little Christmas], so I really wanted to show the non-traditional family, because a lot of LGBTQ people don't have a traditional family," Watkins said. "So that was the first thing, to create a family like this, because that is what would have to happen in our family more often than not."

Watkins also strived to show a family that was imperfect while still being engaging and identifiable for the audience.

"No family is the Huxtables," she said, laughing. "I thought, "What can we put on them to make them real? Especially going with Mantha and Ma Pat—because, in our communities, lesbians dealing with transgender [identifying partners] can be a hard thing to cope with."

Watkins wanted "to showcase Mantha's battle without talking about Mantha's battle. She doesn't really talk about it—it's not easy to just say, 'I'm not going to be a lesbian anymore if you do this.' She never says that, so she keeps saying, 'How can you be so selfish?'"

Watkins added, "On the other side, Pat said, 'I don't have to explain to you what I need to do—this is what I need to do, and you can deal with it or not.' Which is a bottom-line for transitioning."

Each of Manther and Ma Pat's five children is encountering personal issues of his/her/their own.

"They're all coming from broken backgrounds—how has that affected their adult lives, especially the 'baby,' who is [living at] home?" Watkins noted.

Watkins and her collaborators produced The Higher Spirit quickly last year. She penned the screenplay in July 2020, and filming took place the following fall. They had a red carpet premiere in December 2020—but the filmmakers re-edited the film after they were able to salvage a damaged hard drive featuring much of one actor's performance.

"Her story wasn't gelling together," Watkins recalled. "We ended up paying a lot of money to get that hard-drive fixed. As a writer that made me feel a lot better."

A native of Buffalo, New York, Watkins now spends much of her time in Las Vegas and Atlanta. She has a new novel in the works, and is also beginning work on a new project featuring straight characters, which she jokingly referred to as "the first straight thing that I've ever done."

But Watkins and her collaborators remain committed to work centering a Black queer experience, which includes also producing a sequel to The Higher Spirit.

"For us, [who] are producing quality in the independent sector, it's very important for us to tell the stories that need to be told," Watkins said. "It's very important for us to continue to show the faces that need to be seen."

For information on streaming The Higher Spirit, see pridearts.org/a-higher-spirit/ .


This article shared 716 times since Wed Dec 22, 2021
facebook twitter pin it google +1 reddit email

  ARTICLES YOU MIGHT LIKE

Gay News

Nat'l Black Justice Coalition celebrates openly LGBTQ+/SGL NAACP Image Award nominees
2022-01-18
-- From a press release - The National Black Justice Coalition (NBJC) celebrates the historic number of openly Black lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer+, and same-gender loving (LGBTQ+/SGL) nominees for the NAACP Image Awards. The Image ...


Gay News

Billy Masters: Colton Underwood, Golden Globes and more
2022-01-17
"I was not prepared to receive death threats over a fictional character's fictional relationship choices that are fictional which means not real."—A writer on the Sex and the City sequel And Just Like That describes feedback ...


Gay News

SHOWBIZ Music festivals, Murray Bartlett, Reese Witherspoon, author David Sedaris
2022-01-16
Bonnaroo Music & Arts Festival revealed the lineup for this year's festival, taking place June 16-19 on the Bonnaroo Farm in Manchester, Tennessee, a press release noted. Highlights will include performances by Tool, J. Cole, Stevie ...


Gay News

WORLD Archbishop demoted, Israel ruling, Denmark petition, tennis icon
2022-01-16
Pope Francis demoted Archbishop Giacomo Morandi, the number-two official in the doctrine office, due to the belief that he is responsible for the controversial document that bars blessings for same-sex couples, according to Newsweek. Morandi is ...


Gay News

PASSAGES Veronica Drake
2022-01-13
Veronica Drake—a onetime Chicago resident and longtime LGBTQ+-rights activist—recently passed away in October. She was 58. She last resided in Florida. According to an obituary at Marvin C. Zanders Funeral Home, Inc., Drake was born Sept. 15 ...


Gay News

POLITICS Laura Ricketts co-chairing Valencia's finance committee
2022-01-13
Laura Ricketts—a co-owner of the Chicago Cubs, along with her family, and a leader in the LGBTQ+ community—is co-chairing the finance committee of Illinois secretary of state candidate Anna Valencia, according to the Politico Illinois Playbook. ...


Gay News

SAG nominees include 'Gucci,' 'Power of the Dog,' 'Squid Game'
2022-01-12
Nominees for the 28th Annual Screen Actors Guild Awards honoring outstanding individual, cast and ensemble performances for the past year were announced Jan. 12 by actors Rosario Dawson and Vanessa Hudgens via Instagram Live, according to ...


Gay News

NBJC celebrates Mj Rodriguez on Golden Globes win
2022-01-11
—From a press release - The National Black Justice Coalition (NBJC) congratulates Michaela Jae "Mj" Rodriguez on earning the Golden Globe for Best Actress in a TV Drama during the 2022 Golden Globe Awards. Rodriguez won for her role as Blanca ...


Gay News

LGBTQ+ and BIPOC Youth Led Study on Youth and Young Adult COVID-19 Vaccination Finds Surprising Results
2022-01-10
—From a news release - BOULDER, CO - Out Boulder County in partnership with El Centro AMISTAD and Unwoven Ventures with the leadership of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Queer (LGBTQ+) and Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC) youth created ...


Gay News

Billy Masters: Andy Cohen, SJP and more
2022-01-10
The virus hit us both like a freight train. Thankfully, we were both triple vaccinated and the vaccinations did their job, which kept us out of real danger and out of the hospital… [We're] still isolating and waiting to see until we test ...


Gay News

Trans actress Rodriguez makes history at quiet Golden Globes
2022-01-10
On Jan. 9, Michaela Jae "Mj" Rodriguez won a Golden Globe for best actress in a TV drama for her role as Blanca on the FX show Pose, according to media reports. The awards were announced on social media, as the Globes were not broadcast or live-streamed ...


Gay News

Chicago's first-ever Festival au Cinema to take place Aug. 26-28
2022-01-07
Haven Chicago has announced its first-ever Festival au Cinema, described as "the company's new platform for visionary and innovative filmmakers and media artists staking their claim in the future of digital storytelling." Festival au Cinema will ...


Gay News

SHOWBIZ JoJo Siwa, Jeopardy! champ, director dies, Frank Ocean
2022-01-02
TikTok fans of LGBTQ entertainer Jojo Siwa said her new teenage girlfriend, Katie Mills, is a supporter of anti-LGBTQ Republican former President Donald Trump, per LGBTQ Nation. Mills also once questioned if transgender women are "actually" ...


Gay News

SHOWBIZ The film 'Licorice Pizza,' Aaron Sorkin, WNBA player, Mariah Carey
2021-12-26
Alana Haim, who stars in the film Licorice Pizza (now out in theaters), talked with out.com about how the movie incorporates queer representation by including unsung queer political figure Joel Wachs. "Joel Wachs was such an ...


Gay News

Virtual discussion about Amigas Latinas to take place Jan. 29
2021-12-24
A virtual discussion about the now-defunct but groundbreaking organization Amigas Latinas will take place Saturday, Jan. 29, at 2 p.m. Amigas Latinas founders Mona Noriega and Evette Cardona, and former Amigas Latinas board member Lourdes Torres ...


 



Copyright © 2022 Windy City Media Group. All rights reserved.
Reprint by permission only. PDFs for back issues are downloadable from
our online archives. Single copies of back issues in print form are
available for $4 per issue, older than one month for $6 if available,
by check to the mailing address listed below.

Return postage must accompany all manuscripts, drawings, and
photographs submitted if they are to be returned, and no
responsibility may be assumed for unsolicited materials.
All rights to letters, art and photos sent to Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago
Gay and Lesbian News and Feature Publication) will be treated
as unconditionally assigned for publication purposes and as such,
subject to editing and comment. The opinions expressed by the
columnists, cartoonists, letter writers, and commentators are
their own and do not necessarily reflect the position of Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay,
Lesbian, Bisexual and Transegender News and Feature Publication).

The appearance of a name, image or photo of a person or group in
Nightspots (Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times
(a Chicago Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender News and Feature
Publication) does not indicate the sexual orientation of such
individuals or groups. While we encourage readers to support the
advertisers who make this newspaper possible, Nightspots (Chicago
GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay, Lesbian
News and Feature Publication) cannot accept responsibility for
any advertising claims or promotions.

 
 

TRENDINGBREAKINGPHOTOS







Sponsor
Sponsor


 



Donate


About WCMG      Contact Us      Online Front  Page      Windy City  Times      Nightspots      OUT! Guide     
Identity      BLACKlines      En La Vida      Archives      Advanced Search     
Windy City Queercast      Queercast Archives     
Press  Releases      Join WCMG  Email List      Email Blast      Blogs     
Upcoming Events      Todays Events      Ongoing Events      Bar Guide      Community Groups      In Memoriam      Outguide Categories      Outguide Advertisers      Search Outguide      Travel      Dining Out      Privacy Policy     

Windy City Media Group publishes Windy City Times,
The Bi-Weekly Voice of the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Trans Community.
5315 N. Clark St. #192, Chicago, IL 60640-2113 • PH (773) 871-7610 • FAX (773) 871-7609.