Loida Lewis’ Daughter Debuts in With Child at NY Filmfest
CHICAGO — The independent film With Child, critically-acclaimed during the Critics’ Week of the 2014 Cannes Film Festival, headlines the 2015 SOHO International Film Festival New York City at the Village East Cinema Auditorium today.
With Child features Leslie Lewis in her first starring role after creating and starring in a one-woman show, Miracle in Rwanda, based on the life-story of Immaculee Ilibagiza, who survived the Rwanda genocide in 1994. Miracle in Rwanda was viewed by over 10,000 theatergoers in six continents.
It was Leslie Lewis’ jubilant mom, the Filipino-American civic leader and philanthropist Loida Nicolas-Lewis, who broke the news about the popularity of her daughter’s film in a three-way phone call with this reporter and her other friend Marlon Pecson, who are both based in Chicago, Illinois.
“Tickets have been sold-out for the first screening,” said the lady lawyer. “Another screening is being lined up.”
Directed by Titus Heckel, With Child tells the story of a blue-collar construction worker Auden Price (portrayed by Kerry van der Griend) and his journey after his wife’s death. Despite protests from his sister-in-law, Auden chooses to raise his four-month-old daughter alone. He encounters challenges as a single dad looking for work, and then soon finds himself spun around by the romantic advances of his eccentric new employer, Petra Dell (played by Leslie).
“Three years ago, Titus Heckel wrote With Child with my friend Kerry van der Griend in mind to play the lead. Kerry suggested me for the role of Petra, and when I read the script, I thought it would be a good fit for my first film as lead producer. It has been an utter joy to work with this team, and I love the message of the film: What we choose now affects our past,” said the elder daughter of Loida, who is a native of Sorsogon City in the Philippines.
A Harvard graduate like her father, Leslie also has an MFA (Master of Fine Arts) degree in acting from the UCLA School of Theater Film and Television.
Leslie, one of the two daughters and heirs of the late Reginald Lewis (the richest African-American in the ‘80s), is also passionate about fitness, being a certified yoga instructor and co-author of the Athlete Mindset Workbook.
Along with her mother, Leslie hosted a $10,000-a-plate cocktail party fundraiser for President Barack Obama in their luxurious Upper East Side penthouse in Manhattan, New York City last May 4.
“There is a thin line between comedy and tragedy, and I am fascinated with the odd appropriateness of comedy in the light of sadness and vice versa. My film straddles this line,” said director Titus, who is also co-producer with Leslie. Titus’ wide-ranging education, which includes a degree in Physics and a Master’s in Theology, gives him a unique perspective on the stories he tells.
With Child is Titus’ first feature film, which began its festival run last year at the largest Asian Film Festival in Busan. Its trailer can be watched by visiting its official website: www.WithChildMovie.com.
Tickets to the North American premiere screening of With Child at the SOHO International Film Festival can be purchased through http://childbridge.eventbrite.com.
Parties who may support the Indiegogo Campaign can visit the website: http://bit.ly/withchild.
The SOHO Film Fest expects to draw audiences to New York City, known for its artistic community and cultural sophistication, helping boost the profile, the sense of pride and the economy of the local community and the city itself.
The Film Fest accepts full-length features, short films and documentaries from professionals and amateurs. It holds screenings and panels, and hosts social events and other networking opportunities for everyone involved. Leading figures from all disciplines of the film industry, including distributors and media, will be in attendance.
The festival features appearances by the cast and crew and holds post-screening Q&A with them.
SOHO Film Fest’s executive director and head of programming is Sibyl Santiago, daughter of Filipino veteran actress and director Lorli Villanueva, and a recipient of The Outstanding Filipino Americans in NY, Arts & Culture Award at the Carnegie Hall.