From indie writer-director Bobby Huntley comes his debut feature film titled La Vie Magnifique De Charlie (The Beautiful Life of Charlie), which he co-wrote with Nikki Wade, who also produces. Long-time readers of this blog will remember that Huntley and Wade created the fan-made trailer for The New Edition Story (long before BET's miniseries on the hit R&B group), which went viral, garnering several million views. Although the duo never got to produce their own New Edition project.
The filmmaker describes La Vie Magnifique De Charlie as a passion project which was shot in and around Atlanta on a nothing budget over a six-weekend period.
The story follows Charlie's unorthodox (and seemingly chipper) approach to her grieving process after her sister Brandy's untimely death, as she's joined by friends Kayla and Keturah as they go along for a wild and bittersweet ride, tackling topical issues including mental health, sickle cell and female sexual empowerment - all in a day that will leave a lasting impression on Charlie's life.
Touting influences that include early Spike Lee films, the French New Wave, Madonna and Prince, director Huntley sets up the visual aesthetics of the film by sharing that his goal was to give it a 1980's textured look and feel, even though the story unfolds in the present day. Further, it's a quirky, fun film that celebrates the complex and interpersonal relationships between black women that he and co-writer Nikki Wade hope will generate discussion about how black women are typically portrayed in media.
Notably shot by a black woman cinematographer in Lakisha Hughes, starring in Charlie are Kortnee Price, Nikki Lashae, Lailaa Brookings and Ashley S. Evans. Priah Ferguson, the scene-stealer Erica Sinclair on season 2 of Netflix's Stranger Things, co-stars.
The film is currently touring the film festival circuit, and is set to make its New York premiere during the African Diaspora International Film Festival with two screenings at Columbia University on Sunday, Nov. 26 at 6:30 p.m. and Monday, Nov. 27 at 6 p.m. For more information, visit here.
You can follow the film's progress via its Facebook page here/
Charlie is executive produced by Chet A. Brewster of Davenstar 1 Entertainment; Nikki Wade produces via Divadom Entertainment; cinematography is by Kisha Hughes; colorist is Brandon Cordy, and its musical score is by Chuckey Charlies.
A first trailer for the film is embedded below, followed by a poster: