It’s Crunch Time

Number crunch time, that is. Oh Gee Productions has reached a huge milestone with the completion of a detailed budget for BABY OF THE FAMILY. Without releasing any figures, it suffices to say that our well-honed budget covers all the project’s needs while staying fairly low.  Shout out to SAG Indie for the various budget levels for films and their diversity in casting inititative.

Just one more step towards getting the film MADE!


Let’s hear it for New York (Women in Film & Television)

I’m now a member of NYWIFT, New York Women in Film and Television.  It’s one of the leading org’s for women in media and you have to have solid credentials to get in, so needless to say I’m feeling very good about this! Looking forward to the networking and the different opportunities associated with membership, and I hope I can make a difference to the organization as well.


Sergei Franklin, Director of Photography

Sergei Franklin started photography at 14 and spent much of his teenage years taking pictures, reading books on photography and watching movies.
In the early 80’s he made a documentary on the New York subway which screened at several festivals and on a few European TV stations. He co-produced and shot “Solar cars,” a short documentary about a solar car race across Switzerland.

Sergei started working as a cameraman and video engineer for news and corporate productions. He was making a living but was unfulfilled. In the spring of 1990 he took a steadicam workshop with Garrett Brown and found his passion. He bought a steadicam and has been operating for features, music videos and commercials ever since. In 2005 Eve Sussman asked Sergei to be the Director of Photography for her feature “The Rape of the Sabine Women.” Some of the locations were the Herodion Theater at the Acropolis in Athens with 700 extras, a summer house designed by architect Nikos Valsamakis, the Pergamon Museum in Berlin and Tempelhof Airport. Sergei found his calling.

Working as a Director of Photography brings all his talents together. After the release of “The Rape of the Sabine Women” in 2007 Sergei started receiving calls for more cinematography work. In 2008 he lensed the TV show “We Are New York” for which he won an Emmy.

Some of Sergei’s other work as a Director of Photography includes music videos for 50 Cent and The Roots, numerous award winning short films, two more projects with Eve Sussman and second unit work on “The Reader” and “For Colored Girls.”

Lena Horne (1917-2010)

So sad to hear of the passing of the great Lena Horne, the original Brooklyn diva. I was a fan of hers, as were my mother and  my grandmother – three generations of admirers! What I loved were her style, beauty, elegance, perseverance and, of course, her voice.

I remember seeing Lena Horne as Georgia Brown in Cabin in the Sky, tempting Little Joe away from Petunia. And in The Wiz, as Glinda the Good Witch, telling Dorothy to believe in herself. She was a powerful presence on screen and on stage.

Even today, it takes so much to get onto the big screen that we often make concessions.  Lena Horne showed by example that you can be true to yourself, your talent and your people and still be successful.  She will surely be missed.


Nicole Sylvester produces LeToya Luckett music video

BABY OF THE FAMILY Co-Producer Nicole Sylvester was the  producer for LeToya Luckett’s music video “Good To Me,” directed by A.J. Crimson and co-starring model/actor Keston Karter. “Good To Me” is a single on Luckett’s highly anticipated solo album Lady Love. The former Destiny’s Child member recently starred in Preacher’s Daughter, an African American family drama that has done well in limited theatrical release.

As producer, Nicole managed the production, secured locations, worked closely with talent, and contributed notes on the video’s rough cut. Nicole’s unique combination of logistical oversight and creative input is what makes her a valuable part of BABY OF THE FAMILY’s team as well.

Producer Nicole Sylvester

Producer Nicole SylvesterDetroit native, Nicole Sylvester began her career as a Producer/Director at Comcast Cablevision, directing live-action television, call-in talk shows, pre-teen programming and music specials. Her days at the cable company culminated in her documentary Lonely Eagles: Airmen of Tuskegee,  nominated for both a national Cable ACE and a Cable ICE Award.

Nicole made the transition to film production by producing and directing the short film The Stop which played in several film festivals, winning Best Short in the Cinema Shorts Internet Film Festival, and showing on WTVS-PBS Detroit, her second short film minor blues, about on-the-edge musicians, won the Meet Martell at the Movies Film Festival; was accepted in the East Lansing Film Festival, and screened in New York through

Nicole recently produced the web series Queen Hussy, a raunchy mock reality show comedy based in 1974, and A Home Going, a short film that is part of a feature film made up of multiple individual stories. Nicole made her feature film directorial debut with Layla’s Girl, a heartwarming film about one woman’s journey toward peace and healing after the death of her estranged mother. The film, co-starring Richard Gant (Men of A Certain Age, The Big Lebowski), had its Michigan premiere at the Museum of African American History, and has since played at the Brooklyn Indie House in New York, the Detroit Women of Color Int’l Film Festival, Urban Mediamakers Festival in Atlanta, and the Waterfront Film Festival.

Other projects that Nicole has produced or directed include the feature film 17000 Block, distributed on DVD by First Look Entertainment, the music videos for former Destiny’s Child member LeToya Luckett and rap artists Bizarre, Cosa Boys and Lil Mike Mike. As a Production Coordinator, Nicole has worked on films such as 8 Mile (Universal Pictures), 61* (HBO), Hardball (Paramount) and the Funk Brothers documentary Standing in the Shadows of Motown (Rimshot). She was Director of Distribution for Jeff Daniels feature film Super Sucker (Purple Rose Films) and programmer for the 1st Annual Farmington Funny Film Festival.

Nicole’s years of experience have garnered her many awards and accolades. In addition to award nominations for her documentary, Nicole received a Cable ICE award for her special, The North American International Auto Show and promotion of her film 17000 Block received two Telly Award nominations. She is also the recipient of three Public Benefit Corporation grants for film productions. Nicole has been a featured guest on FOX 2 News Morning, WXYZ 7 Sunday Morning News, PBS’ American Black Journal, and the WJLB FM 98 Morning Show. A member of New York Women In Film and Television, a board member of DnA and a former board member of the Detroit Film Center, she has been an invited panelist at the Mayor’s Film Office open forum in Detroit; the Motor City International Film Festival; the Detroit and Windsor International Festival of Film, the Muskegon Film Festival, the Black Cinema Café Film Screening, and at Specs Howard School of Broadcast Arts, of which she is also an alumna.

Nicole is developing several film projects including producing the feature film Baby of the Family, and her second directorial feature A Man’s World, about a wife who conspires to take over her husband’s crime syndicate.

Filmmakers Air Their “Dirty Laundry”

I had the pleasure of appearing on Dirty Laundry, a television program produced and hosted by Nathalie Thandiwe, who is also the host of Pacifica Radio/WBAI’s show Women, Body and Soul.  Dirty Laundry is broadcast cooperation with Manhattan Neighborhood (MNN)’s External Affairs Department.

I was joined by fellow filmmaker Dominga Martin, writer/director of the short film Yellow. We talked about our past work, the challenges facing independent Black filmmakers, and our upcoming projects.  It was great appearing on the show, getting a chance to share with viewers my journey as a filmmaker.  I also got to talk about BABY OF THE FAMILY, the feature film that Oh Gee Productions is developing.

There is such a huge and eager audience out there for stories that show the beauty and complexity of African Americans, and yet the Hollywood machine doesn’t seem interested in connecting the work with the audience.  I suppose it’s up to us filmmakers and our supporters to get these stories out.

Wish us luck!



Nathalie Thandiwe, WBAI

Manhattan Neighborhood Network

Olu Gittens, Oh Gee Productions

Dominga Martin, A House of Ming Films

Baby of the Family: The Script Reading

We did a staged script reading of BABY OF THE FAMILY, the screenplay and-soon-to be film by writer-director Olu Gittens.

This reading was taped before a limited, select audience in the TV studios of Manhattan Neighborhood Network (MNN). The reading featured an array of talented actors from film, TV and theater, including Wendi Joy Franklin, Tiandra Gayle, J. Michael Kinsey, Mo Beasley, Alex Mulzac, Natalia Peguero, Lewis Thompson, Jessica Fontaine, Danyel Fulton, Madiona Caesar and more. The production crew was a team of media professionals committed to furthering public access television.

Olu Gittens – Writer, Director, Producer

Olufunmilayo Gittens is a media professional in film and television, who graduated from Brown University and earned her MFA in Film Production from Boston University’s College of Communication.

Olu has worked on the production teams of the nationally syndicated lifestyle talk show The Better Show (Meredith) and for the animated PBS series Cyberchase (Thirteen/ Nelvana), and Los Angeles television station LA18/KSCI, a leader in multicultural TV programming, where she was Senior Technical Director. Her daily workflow at LA18 was intensive, shooting 4 to 5 shows a day, live and live-to-tape, hard news and talk shows, broadcast in various languages.

Olu directed and technical-directed television shows with multiple guests, interviews, live music, and studio audiences at Manhattan Neighborhood Network (MNN-TV), the country’s largest public access station. At MNN, Olu produced non-fiction field packages and her award-winning TV and web series Choices featuring the work of 17 actors.

Olu wrote, directed and produced Lucky, a dramatic 27-minute film she directed with professional actors. Olu’s work on Lucky stood out for its sophisticated style and heartwarming touch, and garnered her awards in numerous film festivals across the country, including the New England Film and Video and the National Black Programming Consortium film festivals. It was showcased at the Brooklyn Museum, the Smithsonian Institute, and the Directors Guild of America, and was selected to appear in the Global Cinema TV film series hosted by Ernie Hudson (Ghostbusters) for cable’s Black Family Channel.

Olu has also worked in digital media, producing branded content videos for Ruth’s Beauty, an e-commerce company specializing in lace wigs, with $1M in sales annually, and as a Freelance Writer for online publications including NBC’s, MadameNoire and Clutch Magazine.

A native New Yorker, Olu has received citations from the Brooklyn Borough President’s Office and the City Council of New York for her contribution to the arts through film.  She currently resides in Los Angeles, California.


BABY OF THE FAMILY: Here’s the Story


Screenplay by Olu Gittens

When the Douglas family gets together for Thanksgiving, sibling rivalry and old grudges are served up with the turkey. But here’s the gravy: an uninvited guest arrives and demands a place at the table. Can the Douglases stomach the truth about their lives, or will secrets, fear and infidelity make them turn away the BABY OF THE FAMILY? For this project, Oh Gee Productions teams up with Co-Producer Nicole Sylvester — producer of the indie film 17000 Block, distributed by UrbanWorks Entertainment and First Look Studios — for what will be our first theatrically-released movie.

Stay tuned!