diane houston

*(Hollywood, CA) – The Black Hollywood Education and Resource Center (BHERC) will host SISTAS’ DOING IT FOR THEMSELVES March 23, 2013 at Raleigh Studios, 5300 Melrose Avenue, Hollywood, California at 6:00 p.m.  Moderated by Academy Award nominated writer and director DIANNE HOUSTON.

This year BHERC is pleased to introduce six inspiring short films:  SAUDADE (6:00 Min.) by Evita M. Castine; ZERO (18:00 Min.) by Kimberly Townes; THE TAKEOVER (27:00 Min.) by Shequetal L. Smith; WHITE SUGAR IN A BLACK POT (18:00 Min.) by Rachel I. Johnson; REPARATIONS (8:00 Min.) by Peppur Chambers; and THE BEDROOM (14:00 Min.) by Sonya Dunn   Discussion and Receipt to follow film screenings.

Dianne Houston took a forced break from the directing world to deal with a discovery of and treatment for breast cancer.  During this hiatus, Houston wrote the popular film, TAKE THE LEAD, developed the Universal film project MISSY based on the tumultuous inner life of superstar Missy Elliott, wrote THE KNIGHTS OF THE SOUTH BRONX for A&E, sold her post-slavery teleplay A BAND OF ANGELS to Hallmark Hall Of Fame, and sold her TV pilot script BALTIMORE to NBC. Now completely healed, Dianne Houston is at long last making her first feature film, HARRIET, starring Viola Davis.

Founded in 1996 by Sandra Evers-Manly, the Black Hollywood Education and Resource Center is a nonprofit, public benefit organization designed to advocate, educate, research, develop, and preserve the history and future of Blacks in film and television.  Through film festivals, award ceremonies, book signings, script readings, contests, scholarships, other programs and special events, BHERC recognizes the contributions of African-American men and women in front of and behind the scenes in the entertainment industry.

Celebrate the artistry, our prices are affordable because the goal is to support our filmmakers, the diversity of topics, stories, techniques and themes are broad, dimensional and multi-layered with humor, drama and reality.  $15.00, street parking available or $5.00 on the studio lot.

For complete information, please visit www.BHERC.org or call (310) 284-3170.

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Films Listed in alphabetical order


Dianne Houston is an Academy Award nominated writer and director. Born and raised in Washington DC, Houston left home at age 16 to work in experimental theatre in New York City. Her early work, as both actress and as director was with such theatre greats as Liz Swados, Joseph Papp, Joe Chaikin, La Mama, Woody King, and Ntozake Shange. It was this diverse background that laid the foundation for her immersion into film and television. Dianne Houston is known for her unique skills as a storyteller, and as a builder of memorable characters.  Houston transformed a forgotten Harlem Renaissance short story into an Academy Award nominated short film, TUESDAY MORNING RIDE, which she both wrote and directed. She has written/produced on staffs of prime time series of City of Angels and The Education of Max Brewster. She has developed film and television projects for Showtime, NBC; HBO; ABC; CBS; FOX; A&E; TRIBECA FILMS; PARTICIPANT FILMS; UNIVERSAL, SONY, PARAMOUNT, and HARPO Productions. In addition to her Oscar nomination, Houston was also nominated for an NAACP Image Award for writing “Take The Lead”, and received a Humanitas certificate for “You Must Remember This”.  Houston’s prime time directing credits include: City of Angels, NYPD BLUE; Presidio Med; Soul Food; Strong Medicine; and Crossing Jordan. In 2005 Houston took a forced break from the directing world to deal with a discovery of and treatment for breast cancer. During this seven year “hiatus”, she wrote the popular film, TAKE THE LEAD; developed the Universal film project “MISSY” based on the tumultuous inner life of superstar Missy Elliott; wrote “THE KNIGHTS OF THE SOUTH BRONX” for A&E; sold her post-slavery teleplay, “A BAND OF ANGELS” to Hallmark Hall Of Fame; and sold her TV pilot script “BALTIMORE” to NBC. Now seven years completely healed, Dianne Houston is at long last making her first feature film, HARRIET, starring Viola Davis. She and her partner of nineteen years have two young children and live in Los Angeles.

1.            Saudade (6:00 Min.) by Evita M. Castine

            Saudade is an atmospheric tale of a woman haunted by visions from a dark past.

Evita M. Castine is a writer, director, Emmy award winning producer, photographer and actress. She is currently a graduate student in Film Production at the University of Southern California where she is focusing on Writing, Directing and Production Design.

2.            Zero (18:00 Min.) by Kimberly Townes

An introverted teen is forced to defend herself when bullies threaten to spill the beans about her crush on the math teacher.


Kimberly Townes: Writer/Director; Melissa Nemcek/ Monica Mallet/Amrahu Ibraheem: Producer.  Kimberly Townes just graduated from the UCLA MFA program and returned from Miami where my thesis film, “Zero”, screened as one of the five finalists in the ABFF HBO Shorts competition. Currently I am a post production assistant on the HBO series “True Blood”.  I am, also, writing, freelance editing, and preparing for whatever is next. Her work can be seen at www.kimtownes.com

3.            The Takeover (27:00 Min.) by Shequetal L. Smith

The Takeover is about an African American comic book illustrator and Caucasian fashion designer best friend who search for men online and discussing their dating lives in Los Angeles. They both seem to think that the other one has it easier.

Shequetal L. Smith, Writer/director, is a North Carolina native who began her career in entertainment at Def Jam/Roc-A-Fella Records. Since then, Smith has written several screenplays and worked on hits such as Everybody Hates Chris, The Surreal Life, and Flavor of Love. In 2008, Smith launched her Los Angeles based production company, Rayven Choi Films. Smith’s inaugural short film, The J.H. Gunn Project, was selected into six film festivals in multiple countries. Currently, Smith is prepping her first feature film, Rock The Mic, with Teyana Taylor (Madea’s Big Happy Family) and Romeo Miller (Jumping the Broom), attached to star.

4.            White Sugar in a Black Pot (18:00 Min.) by Rachel I. Johnson

When a sudden opportunity arise for Denise and her husband to buy a house, the strength of her marriage is put to the test, and she is forced to make one of the toughest decisions of her life.

Rachel I. Johnson born and raised in Brooklyn, New York is a graduate of New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts. At NYU, she wrote and directed short films, and further developed her craft of filmmaking. Johnson directed her thesis film “White Sugar in a Black Pot” with the assistance of the Warner Bros. Film Award and the George A. Heinemann Film Production Award. Her thesis film received a CINE Golden Eagle Award, an African Movie Academy Award, and has gone on to win more awards and screen at many festivals. Johnson is grateful for the exceptional love, support, and guidance she receives, and will continue to write and direct poignant films.

5.            Reparations (8:00 Min.) by Peppur Chambers

A hipster couple, Hope and Donny, find themselves in a precarious situation when Donny falls back on his promise to a homeless man, Tigger.

Peppur Chambers: Writer & Co-Directors; Lu Louis: Co-Directors; Peppur Chambers &Tina McDowelle; Producers.  Peppur Chambers is a writer/actor/producer.  Reparations is her directorial debut on film. She is the creator of “Harlem’s Night: A Cabaret Story”, the still-running theatrical dinner-theater experience that includes singing, dancing, acting and a hint of burlesque performed by the Brown Betties (and herself as “Harlem”).

Collectively, Reparations is the first co-produced project by the dynamic duo, Peppur Chambers and Tina McDowelle. Both come from creative backgrounds with Tina producing her own music and hugely successful show cases surrounding her art and Peppur producing stage plays, short films and webseries.

6.            The Bedroom (14:00 Min.) by Sonya Dunn

A romantic drama about one of the most sacred rooms in any intimate relationship – The Bedroom. The film follows the beginning and end of a marital relationship.  This tragic love story of everlasting love through adversity and twisted fate culminates in The Bedroom

Sonya Dunn, writer/director, is a graduate film student at American University (Washington, DC).  She is an accomplished writer and director of theater, cable programming, web content and film.   Dunn was a semi-finalist in the 2011 Slamdance Writing Competition for her screenplay A Mother’s Love.  She is the creator of the award-winning web series Sista Wives and Testify.


Lynne Conner
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