Victoria Rowell(Photo: Garfield Robinson)

The holiday drama Blackjack Christmas, directed by Victoria Rowell, which was shot here in Jamaica earlier this year, will be released next year.

Speaking to the Jamaica Observer, Rowell noted that she has completed her director's cut and already the film has been generating positive responses from those who have seen it.

“I am obviously biased, but it is a good film. I have seen grown businessmen break down and cry and viewing the rough cut, which is clearly a testament to how powerful it is . We are now in post-production and already have a distributor attached. Global Genesis Group will distribute the film when it is completed. They are into worldwide distribution of films. This is in addition to my own company Days Ferry Productions. We also have some offers on the table that I cannot disclose at this time, but good things are coming. So this film will definitely hit the streets in 2022,” she disclosed.

Meanwhile Rowell noted that as part of the post production activities the film is being scored and Jamaican music will feature in the soundtrack.

“I am working with composers to do the film's score, but I can tell you that I have licensed a song by Kibwe Lawrence, who many in Jamaica will know as Scantana. He is a very talented actor and musician who has a role in Blackjack Christmas. He played the character Trooper and I was introduced to his wonderful music and just had to use one of his songs. As we go along we will see what else is required and will draw on Jamaican talent if needs be. This is not the first time I am using Jamaican music in my productions. When we shot Rich and the Ruthless we used local music, so I am always looking forward to working with my Jamaican colleagues on my projects,” Rowell continued.

Blackjack Christmas was filmed over 11 days in the Corporate Area and drew on the acting talents of Jamaican favourites Oliver Samuels and Fae Ellington, as well as Americans Charmin Lee and Dawnn Lewis, who many will remember for her role as Jaleesa on the groundbreaking television sitcom A Different World, which first aired in 1987, running until the end of its fifth season in 1992. The production also hired a number of locals who provided services behind the camera and on set. The film tells the story of long-lost sisters who are reunited over the holidays.

Jamaican audiences came to know Rowell through her long-standing role as Drucilla Winters in the soap opera The Young and the Restless which aired on local television for many years.

She shared that as one of the positive outcomes of the Black Lives Matter movement, there is a marked increase in the number of roles and other opportunities for blacks and other persons of colour in the film industry.

“I have just been offered a Christmas movie, so I leave for Chicago in a few days to start filming on December 6. That film is called A Christmas Gift. I have also also just finished directing a film called The Neighbor for Lifetime, and A Rich Christmas starring Vanessa Williams and Bill Bellamy which I directed, and is now streaming on BET and BET+,” said Rowell.

Director Victoria Rowell on set with local comedy king Oliver Samuels.
BY RICHARD JOHNSON Observer senior reporter

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