African-American Female Team Produce Indie Horror Film ‘The Dark Rite’
Photo Credit: S & A

African-American Female Team Produce Indie Horror Film ‘The Dark Rite’

nullWhen most

people think about the combination of Black folks and horror films they think

of the stereotypical “first to die” trope (one that is too true), and then

depending on your generation, ‘Candyman,’ ‘Blacula,’ or even the TV series

‘True Blood.’ Though a shift is occurring through the continual work of the ladies

on the Graveyard Shift Sisters website, initial thoughts certainly do not bend to

Black people actually working to make horror films. But then you’d be wrong

there too. 


Dark Rite’ is a supernatural thriller by director Richard

LeMay (‘Naked As We Came) about

a family of witches who descend upon a small town.  In the vein of ‘Rosemary’s Baby,’ the film begins as a thriller, and

slowly moves into a world of inescapable horror.   Dark in tone but not a “Black” film (the only Black characters involved are actor Justiin Davis (‘Boardwalk

Empire’) as the 4th lead, with Chester Jones III (‘Hey Diddle Diddle,’

‘Parallels’) and Margaret Laurena Kemp (‘Children of God’) in smaller roles) the

film is however produced by a Black female team.

Assembled to make “The Dark Rite’ happen, not by race

but by skill, were three talented women – producer Trevite A. Willis,

co-producer Nicole Sylvester, and line producer Stephanie Dawson – who have all

made their mark on the industry and are steadily climbing further. 

Trevite A.

Willis has produced award-winning short and feature films including the Bahamian

drama ‘Children of God,’ which aired on Showtime and had theatrical releases in

the USA, United Kingdom and The Netherlands. She previously produced the

romantic comedy, “What a Man Wouldn’t Do for a Woman”, and the Black gay

coming-of-age, “Blueprint”, a film festival favorite. Willis also produced the

DGA Best Student Film – African American Award winning “Uncle Killa,” which was

selected as an HBO finalist at the American Black Film Festival, and picked up by


Nicole Sylvester, a

Detroit-native, made a name for herself as a coordinator for independent and

studio productions such as  ‘8

Mile,’ ‘Hard Ball,’ ‘*61,’ and at Jeff Daniels’ company Purple Rose Films where

she was Distribution Coordinator for the feature ‘Super Sucker.’ She soon began

producing and directing her own films – 

shorts ‘The Stop’ and ‘Minor Blues,’ and her feature film directorial

debut ‘Layla’s Girl,’ a heartwarming film co-starring Richard Gant (‘Men of A

Certain Age’)’ about one woman’s journey toward peace and healing after the

death of her estranged mother. ‘Layla’s Girl,’ played at several film

festivals. Nicole also produced Pete Chatmon’s web series ‘Queen Hussy,’ a

raunchy mock reality show comedy based in 1974, and she is currently developing

the feature ‘Maya and Her…Lover?’ which focuses on a woman who finds herself

pushed beyond her limits when she begins an affair with a much younger man.

Stephanie Dawson worked

in the IT world before transitioning into video and film production. She

started EclectionMedia in 2006 to create short form videos for private clients

and under that banner produced several short films including ‘Not Another Heist

Movie’ (2009), ’A Little Bit of More’ (2010), and most recently

‘Hypothetically,’ currently in the festival circuit. She also produced

independent web series ‘Death’s Door’ (2011) and ‘Scout & Maggie’ (2014).Additionally, Stephanie works as a freelance production coordinator, production

manager and line producer for various mediums, with credits on ‘Kelly & Cal’

(IFC Films 2014), ‘Jamie Marks is Dead’ (2014), and ‘Beneath’ (Chiller Films,

2014). Stephanie has also assisted independent producers such as Laurie Parker,

Joyce Pierpoline, and director Alison MacLean. In her spare time, Dawson writes

film reviews for the lifestyle blog Limité

Check out the trailer for ‘The

Dark Rite’ below, and if you haven’t already, start to follow the work of these

three talented Black women. 

Shadow and Act is a website dedicated to cinema, television and web content of Africa and its global Diaspora. With daily news, interviews, in-depth investigations into the audiovisual industry, and more, Shadow and Act promotes content created by and about people of African descent throughout the world.

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