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Director's Statement

Hello Everyone,

BABY OF THE FAMILY has been my dream project and I welcome you on this journey to make it a reality.  BABY OF THE FAMILY is a drama with heart and soul, a film that will uplift, entertain and bring people together. At its core it is a family drama, and family is something we can all relate to. In the same way the newborn baby in the story demands a place at the table, my debut feature film will command its place with those who are hungry for quality, inspiring work about African-American families.

My approach to making BABY OF THE FAMILY will mirror the approach I took when making my film Lucky, a drama about an older black couple who develop a friendship/romance and discover their hidden past together. Like Lucky, BABY OF THE FAMILY is a fictional drama with hints of insightful comedy, themes of family -- and a core mystery in the plotline.

I love directing ensemble work, giving many different actors a chance to shine. I wrote and directed Choices, a TV and web soap opera shot multi-camera style in a television studio. Coming from a background as a filmmaker, I gave the series a cinematic feel while incorporating the aesthetic elements of a daytime drama. I was able to weave together multiple story lines, finding connections between the characters, an overarching theme and a larger narrative arc. Choices has gone on to win awards for Best Ensemble Cast, Best Writing and Best Series in the Drama/Dramedy/Soap Opera category at the 2012 Los Angeles Web Festival.

My background in theater also informs my work. I directed the play Babygirl: The Coming of Age of a Media-Codependa-Lova-Holic, funded by the NYC Department of Cultural Affairs via the Brooklyn Arts Council (BAC) and I recently directed Trust No One a comedy thriller by Chance Anderson about two best friends, a gay guy and a straight girl, who fall for the same man; it enjoyed a successful run at the American Theatre of Actors in New York. I love telling stories and bringing out the best in what actors can do. I spent years honing my directing skills as a member of Directors and Actors (DnA), a select group of directors inspired by the methodologies of Judith Weston, who develop the craft of directing actors through intensive workshops.  DnA has been a great outlet for experimentation and exploration; I have developed a well-rounded approach to communicating with actors that I can take wherever I go.

BABY OF THE FAMILY stands out because of the characters and the family dynamics that exist between them. The appearance of the baby on Thanksgiving days brings their family secrets, sibling rivalry and infidelity to the surface, forcing the characters to face the unpleasant truths about their lives. Because I am able to direct individual performances as well as group interactions, I will be able to bring cohesion, timing and the right tone -- an important balance in an ensemble piece like this one.

BABY OF THE FAMILY's team will be critical to making bringing this story to life on screen. Award-winning Producers Nicole Sylvester and Rahsan Lindsay each bring over a decade of experience to the project. They understand the business intimately and are experts at developing and managing feature films from conception through distribution. Emmy-winning Cinematographer Sergei Franklin knows how to visually tell a story with beauty and technical excellence. As a team, we are resourceful at creating great work on time and on budget.

BABY OF THE FAMILY has the support of well-known, highly regarded actors. It will be a delight to work with those at the top of their game, people whose work I’ve admired for years. I look forward to creating, with this team and cast, something we can all be proud of.


Olu Gittens

Director's Look Book

Images that inspire the look of characters, settings and visual motifs in BABY OF THE FAMILY, as compiled by director Olu Gittens.