Filmmaker Joy Shannon Brings A New Twist On Race Relations With Her Horror Film “My Dead Selfie”
Ginger, a young and beautiful African American woman, and her professional white husband Hal, are full of life, enjoying a passionate marriage. However, they tiptoe around discussing race. Ginger refuses to see Hal for who he really is, instead enjoying the financial security that he brings. Yet Hal has a family secret — he comes from a long line of vicious overseers from slavery who secretly practiced the occult. The slaves placed a curse on Hal’s family for generations to come and in order to break it he must marry a Black woman. Now in a house that is possessed by the evils of racism, Ginger has no choice but to hope that her life matters.
Director/Writer Joy Shannon takes the question of race to whole new level with her latest independent film, “My Dead Selfie”.
Making a social-horror film, a sub genre of horror films, just felt natural to me. It allowed me to look at elements of racism in an aggressive, yet creative way. No doubt, the collective Black American experience has been horrific in every sense of the word, thus it’s likely that horror films on race will be some of the most unique films that Black filmmakers make. My leading cast of Ginger(played by Sharena Walker) and Hal(played A.J.Garrett), are symbolic; Ginger represents a segment of Black Americans who look away from racism, even when it’s staring them in the face, and Hal represents this country’s long-going exploitation of Black people. So I took the set-up of a standard ghost story and placed Ginger and Hal in the center. Why call it, “My Dead Selfie”? — it’s a play on words. We all need to look at ourselves and examine how we treat one another, if not, our ‘self’s’ will be void from the inside out.
We made this film with spit & chewing gum, almost no money. Really, almost noooo money. But the skeleton crew, mainly young people from Craigslist, and a very talented cast from LA helped to make magic! We were strangers, Blacks, Whites, Mexicans and Asians who loved cinema — that’s what brought us together and kept us together.
Joy Shannon is a writer and director of indie feature films. Years ago a historian of African American cinema conducted a study and determined that Joy’s first 16mm feature film, Rags to Reality (aka Uptown Angel) was the first feature film directed by an African American woman to get a home video deal and the first to get released in the then popular Blockbusters (under the title of Uptown Angel.) Joy has her BFA from Howard University and her MA in film from The American University, both in Washington, DC. She served as a juror for the Corporation for Public Broadcast (CPB) and was a grant recipient from AFI and WETA. Joy has also taught filmmaking to teens who were former gang members and to dyslectic students. Joy currently resides in Los Angeles and her past films include a feature and a short version of 3rd Generation Female Gangsta, a short comedy entitled Sexless After 45, and a screw-ball feature comedy entitled Stuck With Jazz (aka All That Jazzin’). My Dead Selfie is Joy’s first horror film.
To learn more about the film and meet the cast visit–www.mydeadselfie.com