‘Blackjack Christmas’ brings addiction and hope to the holidays

‘Blackjack Christmas’ brings addiction and hope to the holidays

The holiday getaway period is defined by light-weight but can also often evoke thoughts of darkness, from grief to loneliness to depression. In Victoria Rowell’s new Christmas motion picture, “Blackjack Xmas,” the author, producer, actress and director claimed she was drawn to create a holiday movie to strike both of those the gloomy and the vibrant.

“People need to have pleasure,” Rowell stated. “Right now they will need hope. There’s a lot of hope in this motion picture.”

Blackjack Christmas,” which premiered this thirty day period on Guess+, tells the story of Delores Johnson, a Black girl in her 50s, played by Charmin Lee, who is mourning the loss of her spouse though also having difficulties with gambling dependancy. Motivated by her desire to gain huge, she reconnects with her estranged sister, Corrine Allen, played by Dawnn Lewis, in Jamaica, with hopes of getting a position to stay so she could go to a nearby on line casino. Their reunification helps make the sisters come face to face with troubles that plagued their connection and puts it at danger for more harm and resentment.

Charmin Lee as Corrine Allen in "Blackjack Christmas."
Charmin Lee as Corrine Allen in “Blackjack Christmas.”Guess+

“I wished to discuss about gals, women of color, immigration and the isolation immigration brings — not just in a Xmas ability, due to the fact the holiday seasons are really hard for a lot of folks, even when people are functioning,” Rowell stated.

Rowell, who grew up in foster care, explained the inspiration for the film stemmed from her guardian, Barbara Sterling, about whom she wrote in her 2007 memoir, “The Woman Who Raised Me.” Sterling, originally from Kingston, Jamaica, traveled to the U.S. and later on became “a pillar” in her lifestyle “and remains so.” Rowell reported she usually “made Xmas so magical.”

Rowell explained “Blackjack Christmas” is the third venture she filmed in Jamaica, a position exactly where she feels “very grounded.” By a industrial DNA exam, she uncovered and linked with one of her family members, a retired teacher, who lives on the island. 

“Jamaica is very central to me,” Rowell claimed. “It’s intrinsic to my personalized becoming.”

Adam Lazarre-White as Graham Wilkes, Charmin Lee as Corrine Allen, Kyrie McAlpin as Marsha Matthews and Leigh-Ann Rose as Gloria Matthews in "Blackjack Christmas."
Adam Lazarre-White as Graham Wilkes, Charmin Lee as Corrine Allen, Kyrie McAlpin as Marsha Matthews and Leigh-Ann Rose as Gloria Matthews in “Blackjack Christmas.”Guess+

Some of the key themes of the film focus on the issues of grief, colorism and an issue that afflicts lots of family members: dependancy. Rowell claimed she has witnessed the hurt of dependancy as a result of the loss of her nephew and by observing other folks wrestle with it when she was in foster care. Her preceding tasks have also grappled with habit, like her 2019 film “Jacqueline and Jilly,” on Wager and ALLBLK. 

Illustrated by Delores’s character with her very own dependancy with gambling, Rowell claimed addicts just can’t be compelled into recovery but a beloved one particular can offer support and a listening ear, like Delores’ spouse and children in the movie.

Director Victoria Rowell.
Director Victoria Rowell.Times Ferry Productions.

“It’s really hard for folks to discuss about these own matters, simply because we come to feel that it ought to be retained quiet and kept private,” Rowell claimed. “But we’re as ill as our insider secrets. And so, it is extremely vital that we allow for a safe and sound area to discuss about psychological ailment.”

With humorous and heartfelt times, the film also touches on some positive life improvements, like getting like once again, mending damaged relationships and forgiving other individuals. Rowell, whose enjoyment profession spans virtually 50 many years, claimed she also required to build extra representation for more people who appear like her. Which is why in numerous of her works, including “Blackjack Xmas,” she focuses on Black women of all ages as central figures and shares their experiences.

“It’s crucial to me to see… Black producers, in newsrooms, on networks, broadcast — not only on camera, but behind it,” Rowell reported. “And so, I will keep on to build content that features and profiles folks of colour, specifically African People.”

Considering the fact that its launch, Rowell mentioned the motion picture has garnered good responses from teams like guide golf equipment and sororities, which she calls “incredible.” With its PG ranking, Rowell explained her movie also invites both of those older and youthful audiences, with some viewers obtaining presently advised a sequel.

“This is these types of a Christmas film and folks are watching it all over again and again,” Rowell claimed.

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