“I am very excited to be screening our film [at Urbanworld Film Festival]!” exclaims award-winning director and producer Charysse Tia Harper. “This is the first film festival the documentary has been in and this is definitely a big one!”
The 64-minute film follows single mother, Felicia Dukes, and her four children as they live in Tony Tolbert’s 3-bedroom Los Angeles home for a year. It also looks at the issue of transitional housing, as well as explores the impact that generosity has on the community. Production began in December 2012, when the family moved in, and ended in January 2014, when the family moved out.
12 Months had its premiere in Los Angeles in February. Over the past seven months, it has been shown in various locations, such as a university (UCLA) and a taekwondo studio in southern California, as well at a discussion meet-up group and a pub in London, to name a few. The film comes back to the US to make its East Coast debut in Manhattan.
Tolbert was inspired to do this by reading an article in a magazine about the Salwens, a family who downsized their home and gave the difference ($800,000) to charity. Tolbert started renting his home for $1 per month in December 2011 and continues to this day. He, along with Harper, will be at the screening and Q&A to follow.
Harper has been making documentary since 2008 and created her company, Xplore the World, in 2009. Her first documentary, The Other Side of Carnival (2010), received the Best Cultural Documentary (New York International Film Festival) and Best International Documentary (ITN Distribution and New Media Festival) awards.
This year alone, she has produced Not In Our Culture (2014), a mini-series looking at different tribal weddings in Nigeria; and has co-directed Panomundo, a documentary about the history of the steelpan in Trinidad & Tobago and its global influence, which will have its World Premiere in London in October 2014.
“With every screening, I just hope people take something away from it,” explains Harper. “Since this film focuses on generosity, seeing someone ‘pay it forward’ makes me feel like I did my job properly.”
Tickets to see 12 Months are $15, which can be purchased at Urbanworld Film Festival’s 12 Months page. A one-minute trailer of the film can also be viewed there.