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Alumna's films to be featured in international film festivals

October 7, 2011

"Mrs. Carmella Prays" is a short documentary tackling the theme of growing old in America.

Loyola University New Orleans alumna Daneeta Loretta Jackson ’88 has produced two short films, "Destiny Lives Down the Road" and "Mrs. Carmella Prays," that will be featured at multiple upcoming film festivals around the world.

As part of the creative partnership The Elektrik Zoo, Jackson has been working with fellow London Film School graduate Patrick Jackson to produce films for more than 10 years. “Destiny Lives Down the Road” blends fiction and creative non-fiction into a coming of age story set in the real post-Katrina landscape of Chalmette, La. “Mrs. Carmella Prays” is a short documentary tackling the theme of growing old in America.

Both films were accepted into the New Orleans Film Festival and the Dreamland Film and Music Festival in Connecticut. In addition, “Destiny” has been accepted into the 55th British Film Institute London Film Festival, Bristol Encounters International Film Festival, Filmfest Eberswalde in Germany, Thess International Short Film of Thessaloniki in Greece, and Sacramento Film and Music Festival. “Carmella” has been accepted into the Insight Film Festival in the UK and the Rockport International Film Festival in Texas. A win at the Bristol Encounters Festival would qualify “Destiny” to be nominated for an Academy Award.

“Patrick and I are extremely excited that these two small films, which were shot in St. Bernard Parish, will be screening all over the world,” Jackson said. “Festivals like the London Film Festival and Bristol Encounters have advanced the careers of many filmmakers. We've been working at this for 10 long years, and we are hopeful that these two films will take us to a new level in our careers as film directors.”

Jackson credits Loyola for her career path. “Studying in the English department in the 80s with a crew of amazing professors, I felt at home. I felt inspired. I felt supported,” Jackson said. “And, I still do. I still keep in touch with my mentors from there, and they have provided wonderful advice and support throughout the years.”

“Having both films screen at the New Orleans Film Festival is such an honor for us and for all of the people who participated,” Jackson said. “The people in these films are not actors, just regular, local residents. So, for that kind of recognition—for their films to screen in competition as a part of this great New Orleans institution—gives them a great feeling of pride.”

The next step for Jackson and her partner is to produce a feature film based on Destiny, a central character in both of the short films. The film will also be shot in the Greater New Orleans area with a local crew. “Our best case scenario is that the shorts will attract someone who has the means to get a feature film off the ground,” Jackson said. “Producing a feature takes a lot of money, so we're exploring all avenues here and abroad to get the funding in place.”

For more information, contact Jess Brown in Loyola’s Office of Public Affairs at jlbrown@loyno.edu or call 504-861-5882.

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