79.7 F
Charlotte Amalie
Sunday, April 14, 2024


Nov. 4, 2003 – Crucians get their chance to view "Me and Mrs. Jones," the feature film written, directed and produced by Virgin Islander Edward LaBorde Jr., on Nov. 22 and 23, when it will be shown at Island Center for the Performing Arts.
The Reichhold Center for the Arts on St. Thomas provided the Caribbean premiere for the motion picture in October, with LaBorde, a St. Thomian, on hand to answer questions afterward. The initial public showing was a sellout, and an encore presentation was scheduled after that.
The plot of "Me and Mrs. Jones" pretty much fits in with the lyrics of the 1973 Billy Paul hit song of the same name ("Me and Mrs. Jones, we got a thing goin' on…"), but the song itself is not a part of the movie. The sound track features songs from Grammy Award-winning recording artists Alicia Keys and India.Arie.
The online Cinequest program guide gives this summary of the storyline of the 2001 release: Starving graphic artist Tracy Wainwright (Brian J. White) gets more than he bargains for when he takes a job with a San Francisco-based online dating service, LoveNet. His boss, Mayellen Jones (Wandachristine), is a draconian taskmistress who plays to win in corporate finance and love. His co-workers are slackers, confused militant subversives and a cubicle mate who has figured out his own version of playing both sides against the middle.
Against the backdrop of the chaotic work environment, Tracy meets Desiree (Kim Fields), a wedding planner with dreams of being the one to walk down the aisle.
Just to keep you guessing as far as who wins Tracy's undying devotion, a UVI release states that Wainwright "must ultimately choose one or the other. Or must he?"
Cinequest states that "The disconnection from real relationships of trust and commitment is the center of satirizing Internet personal ads, white liberal guilt's infatuation with African-American culture, the generation gap, bisexual power politics, and honesty at the cost of integrity."
White is an actor, model and dancer whose resume also includes playing with the New England Patriots and working as a licensed stock broker. After an injury ended his football career, he founded a Boston-based dance/theater company, Phunk Phenomenon. He plays detective Tavon Garris on the Emmy award-winning television police drama "The Shield," and recently finished filming "Mr. 3000," a baseball comedy, opposite Bernie Mac and Angela Bassett.
Wandachristine was nominated for a best actress award at the American Black Film Festival for her portray of Mrs. Jones. Her recent TV work includes roles on "Judging Amy" and "General Hospital," and she has appeared in the feature films "City of Angels," "A Family Thing," "Patch Adams" and "Temporary Girl."
Fields played "Tootie" from 1979 to 1988 on the long-running TV comedy "The Facts of Life," and in 1998 she returned to serial work as Regine Hunter on "Living Single."
LaBorde, who's based in Oakland, California, across the bay from San Francisco, directed, produced and co-wrote "Me and Mrs. Jones." He got involved in video work during his last year in the Navy, attended the San Francisco Academy of the Arts for a few years, and then decided that experience was the best teacher.
Although he made a number of film shorts, he didn't promote them. "I was shy for a long time," he says. But he persisted, gaining more knowledge, more expertise and more self-confidence. "I wanted to build up to it because I respect the art," he says.
The movie was made in the San Francisco Bay Area without outside financial backing. Nearing the end of the project, LaBorde approached D'Wayne Wiggins, a member of the platinum-selling singing group Tony! Toni! Tone!, for help. Wiggins became executive director and also produced the film's soundtrack.
"Me and Mrs. Jones" won awards at the Black Film Makers Hall of Fame, the San Francisco Black Film Festival and the Hollywood Black Film Festival. According to the UVI release, it also was well received at the Cannes Film Festival in France, the Get Real Film Festival in Canada, and the Urban World Film Festival in New York.
A distribution deal with Urban Works which includes airing the film on Black Entertainment Television is near completion, the release stated. The film also is expected to be in stores for purchase and rental come Valentine's Day next year.
According to David Edgecombe, Reichhold Center director, "the showing of LaBorde's film demonstrates our support for the initiative of a young Virgin Islands filmmaker. We are very supportive of his effort and very encouraging to other people to look at this as a creative way of expression."
The Reichhold's Digital Media Institute, begun in the 1990s and housed in a confining underground area of the theater for lack of better space, "is more and more coming into its own," Edgecombe said. "Our hope is that this will over the years grow into 'the School of Media and Culture, the 'School of Performing Arts' or that kind of thing" at UVI, he said.
Meantime, the Reichhold's movie-making workshops for young people held for the last two summers have proven so successful that the program is "expanding into the schools, including St. Croix," with a major grant from the Law Enforcement Planning Commission, Edgecombe said. He described the program's goal as being "to dramatically increase the film and video literacy of the Virgin Islands. In four, five years, we would have enough people with that literacy that we could have a department within the university."
The movie will begin at 7:30 p.m. Nov. 22 and 23 in Island Center.
General admission tickets are $8; they're available at the UVI campus bookstore, Essentric Shoe Boutique, People's Drug Store and Parrot Fish Music in Christiansted. Student tickets are $5 and are being sold only at the UVI bookstore. The film is suitable for ages 17 and older. For more information, call the Reichhold Center box office at 693-1559.

Publisher's note : Like the St. Croix Source now? Find out how you can love us twice as much — and show your support for the islands' free and independent news voice … click here.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email
Keeping our community informed is our top priority.
If you have a news tip to share, please call or text us at 340-228-8784.

Support local + independent journalism in the U.S. Virgin Islands

Unlike many news organizations, we haven't put up a paywall – we want to keep our journalism as accessible as we can. Our independent journalism costs time, money and hard work to keep you informed, but we do it because we believe that it matters. We know that informed communities are empowered ones. If you appreciate our reporting and want to help make our future more secure, please consider donating.