October 2, 2008
For Immediate Release
Jesulu Productions' new suspense-comedy feature film, Lady Magdalene's, was awarded the 2008 Cinema City International Film Festival's "Audience Choice" award for a narrative feature at the festival's Gala Awards Banquet on October 1, 2008, following its festival screening the previous day.
The award, a silver statuette, was accepted by Lady Magdalene's writer/director, supporting actor, and executive producer, J. Neil Schulman, and its star and other executive producer, Nichelle Nichols ("Lady Magdalene").
During his acceptance speech, Schulman praised Nichelle Nichols for her outstanding work both in front of and behind the camera, and thanked his mother and co-executive producer, Betty Schulman, for bailing out the production from a threatened shutdown by offering a second-mortgage on her home to allow the film to be completed. Betty Schulman was also present at the awards ceremony.
This is the second film-festival award for Lady Magdalene's, which also won "Best Cutting Edge Film" following its film-festival premiere on February 2, 2008, at the fifth annual San Diego Black Film Festival
Lady Magdalene's had previous been selected as a finalist, being one of only five narrative-features accepted by the Cinema City International Film Festival this year, out of over 3,000 submissions in this category.
This was the fourth film festival Lady Magdalene's had played at since its premiere.
Nichelle Nichols is the iconic actress who played "Uhura" on Star Trek, as well as being a singer/dancer discovered at age 14 by Duke Ellington.
Beginning in Fall 2007, Nichelle Nichols began appearing as "Nana Dawson," a recurring player on the NBC blockbuster television series, Heroes. In addition, Nichelle appeared in the 2008 film Tru-Loved, stars in the forthcoming films The Torturer and This Bitter Earth, and is about to begin filming on the film David.
As well as starring in Lady Magdalene's, Nichelle Nichols contributed her talents behind the camera as choreographer, and composer of two original songs for the film, which she performed as well.
Lady Magdalene's writer/director/producer, J. Neil Schulman, was previously known as an award-winning novelist and journalist, whose original screenplay "Profile in Silver," is one of the best-remembered episodes of CBS's 1980's Twilight Zone series. He's currently working on the new feature-length documentary, Dave Schwartz: Firsthand from the First Stand. A preview is on YouTube.
Schulman also contributed music and lyrics to five songs in the film, as well as playing the role of Ali the American, an al-Qaeda terrorist.
The Cinema City International Film Festival was founded in 2007 by veteran director/writer/producer Suzanne DeLaurentiis. The first-annual Cinema City International Film Festival was selected as a Top 25 film festival by MovieMaker Magazine.
Lady Magdalene's star, Nichelle Nichols is an icon to millions of women, minorities,and science-fiction fans for her groundbreaking role as "Uhura" on the classic TV series Star Trek and in six blockbuster theatrical features that followed. With half a dozen Star Trek TV series still in worldwide syndication and a new major feature film now in production by Paramount, Star Trek has become the most enduringly successful science-fiction franchise in history. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., personally convinced Nichelle not to quit the original series, saying her being a role model as a senior bridge officer on Star Trek made it one of the few TV series he'd allow his own children to watch.
In the late 1970's, under contract to NASA, Nichelle Nichols took on the daunting task to successfully recruit the first women and minority astronauts for the United States Space Shuttle program, for which she received NASA's Distinguished Public Service Award for her pioneering efforts. It was Nichelle Nichols who brought America its first six female astronauts including Dr. Sally K. Ride and Dr. Judith Resnick, and the first three male African-American astronauts, Dr. Ronald McNair, Col. Guion S. Bluford, Jr., and Frederick D. Gregory , later NASA Acting Administrator. The first African-American female astronaut, Mae C. Jemison, MD, was directly inspired to apply to NASA's space flight program because of Nichelle's role as Uhura on Star Trek.
On January 9, 1992, Nichelle was awarded her much-deserved star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. Just a few weeks before, she'd become the first African-American to place her handprints and signature in the cement walk of the world-famous Grauman's Chinese Theatre.
In 2004 Nichelle Nichols was selected as one of the International Human Rights Consortium's Fete d'Excellence laureate's. The citation reads: "You have been selected for the Medaille d'Excellence 2004 in the category of 'Edutainment.' This is in recognition of your being a true innovator, a woman of courage and commitment to the deepest values of excellence through your artistry within the world of entertainment and also as an innovative educator and patron to learning and inspiring the budding minds and hearts of youth."
Lady Magdalene's has received wide-ranging rave reviews and accolades. Robin Rosenzweig writing in the Beverly Hills Outlook describes Lady Magdalene's as "hilarious entertainment." Lee Michael Cohn in the Santa Monica Mirror calls Lady Magdalene's "an offbeat, sexy comedy."
Steve Miller, writing in a Rotten Tomatoes review, describes Lady Magdalene's as "a fun, fast-paced action comedy" that is "built like the classic comedies of the 1940s-1960s, complete with a musical number." Miller writes, "If writers of the modern thrillers could come up with twists and misdirections even a quarter as clever as Schulman does here, I wouldn't find myself wondering if the thriller is a dead genre." Miller also writes that Nichelle Nichols "gives a performance that is worthy of an actress of her veteran status. She is delightful in this film."
Bestselling author, Jacqueline Lichtenberg, in an advance review, writes that Lady Magdalene's is "action-humor reminiscent of a Bob Hope movie ... The casting is outstanding... The script had all the twists in the right places...powerful and so subtly written... It is purely character driven -- and that's what I loved about it. Definitely one that will etch itself into memory. It grows on you after you finish seeing it. I was still thinking about it a week later."
Tay Zonday, singer/songwriter of the hit song, "Cherry Chocolate Rain" writes on Youtube: "I love seeing Nichelle in a more textured role."
Tom Long, writing in his Detroit News column, says Lady Magdalene's "stars Nichelle Nichols from Star Trek. Talk about someone who can open a movie."
Rounding out Miss Nichols excellent performance is a fresh cast with backgrounds in movies, music, TV, modeling, and stage, including Groundlings alumnus Ethan Keogh (Bedazzled, Able Edwards) as Agent Jack Goldwater, Susan Smythe ("Best Actress" Award at the NY International Independent Film and Video Festival) as "Angel," Persian pop princess Claudia Lynx (West Wing, Legion of the Dead) as Scheherazade, former Calvin Klein model Alexander Wraith (Hitch, Royal Kill) as Yassin Salem, London Drama Centre alumnus Mark Gilvary (Puritan, The Bard: The Story of Robert Burns), doubling both as the Director of al Qaeda and as FBI agent Curtis Broderick, Mara Marini (Darkworld, Porntourage) as Nurse Gretchen, Miss Teen All American Hope McBane (MTV's TRL and Housebroken) as Sinead, and Michele Redmond (HBO's Cathouse) as Eden.
Lady Magdalene's log line is, "After a prostitute's murder, a disgraced federal agent buddies with a Nevada madam to unravel an al-Qaeda plot."