World Premiere San Diego Black Film FestivalBacklot Film Festival logo

Lady Magdalene's

to Screen in the
"Heart of Screenland"
at the 2008
Backlot Film Festival

January 5, 2008 (Revised 02/3/2008)
For Immediate Release

Jesulu Productions
Voice: 310-622-4148

Lady Magdalene's Official Website

Jesulu Productions' new suspense-comedy feature film, Lady Magdalene's, has been selected to screen Thursday, April 3, 2008, 7:30 PM, at the 2008 Backlot Film Festival, to be held April 2nd to 5th, 2008, at the Veterans Memorial Auditorium in Culver City, CA, designated the "Heart of Screenland" because of its rich movie-making history. An additional screening for Lady Magdalene's will be announced shortly.

These are the first film-festival screenings of Lady Magdalene's scheduled to play in the Los Angeles area.

Lady Magdalene's will be personally introduced by its title star and executive producer, Nichelle Nichols, and its writer/director, supporting actor, and other executive producer, J. Neil Schulman.

On the Backlot Film Festival's opening day, Wednesday, April 2nd, at 7:30 PM, Nichelle Nichols will also introduce a screening of 1943's MGM classic African-American musical fantasy, Cabin in the Sky, a restored print being provided by Warner Brothers, which now distributes much of the MGM library. Cabin in the Sky was filmed at MGM, across the street from where the Backlot Film Festival will be held.

Nichelle Nichols is the iconic actress who played "Uhura" on Star Trek, as well as being a singer discovered at age 16 by Duke Ellington.

Beginning in Fall 2007, Nichelle Nichols began appearing as "Nana Dawson," a recurring player on the NBC blockbuster television series, Heroes.

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.

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 Backlot Film Festival was founded in 2004 by writer/producer Ross Hawkins to pay tribute to the rich motion picture history in Culver City and LA's Westside.

The first Backlot Film Festival was held at West Los Angeles College because a portion of the campus was used by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Studios until 1967.

The two motion picture and television studios in Culver City, (Sony Pictures Entertainment and The Culver Studios) were both built by pioneer filmmaker Thomas H. Ince.

Ince is mainly remembered for the mysterious circumstances of his death and it is forgotten that he built three major studios, produced and directed thousands of films and created the studio system still in existence today.

This year, in a ceremony on April 5th, the Backlot Film Festival will present its Thomas Ince Award to legendary comedian, writer, director, actor, and producer, Carl Reiner, known for his "2000 Year Old Man" comedy routine with Mel Brooks, as creator of the Dick Van Dyke Show, as an actor in blockbuster movies as recently as Ocean's 13, and as director of hit movies such as Oh, God! starring George Burns and John Denver.

Lady Magdalene's star, Nichelle Nichols, has a rich cinematic history of her own as 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 Africal-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."

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."

On February 2, 2008, Lady Magdalene's received the "Best Cutting Edge Film" award after its World-Premiere at the fifth annual San Diego Black Film Festival.