02-19-2017  8:55 am      •     

Nation Son Holmes, local Seattle filmmaker, will show her first independent feature length film about domestic violence, entitled "W.O.E." (Walking on Eggshells) at the fourth annual African American Film Festival that runs through April 29 at the Langston Hughes Cultural Arts Center, 104 17th Ave. S.
"W.O.E.," was written, directed and produced by Holmes. A narrative, poignant film about domestic abuse and relationships and decisions people make in their lives, "W.O.E." transcends the social boundaries that separate people.
"Domestic violence is a global issue that affects everyone no matter their race, age or socio-economic status," Holmes said. "I want to make sure people understand that it crosses all barrier lines and anyone can be affected by this."
Holmes, 36, grew up in Seattle's Central Area, attended Howard University in Washington, D.C. and studied communications. After returning to Seattle, Holmes completed her studies in communications at Evergreen State College's Tacoma campus where she studied under the tutelage of Dr. Gilda Shepard. A noted filmmaker, Shepard helped Holmes cultivate her knowledge of the filmmaking process. Holmes also is a member of Women in Film and employs youth and minorities to assist her in her film work.
"W.O.E." started as a seven-page short story titled "Eggshells" which Holmes then turned into a feature length film. The film was shot in just two weeks but took about a year and a half to finish in post-production. The film features local actors such as Jace Ecaj, of the Silent Lamb Project (a local rap group) who plays Darnell; Charmion Sparrow plays Paris; Urana Wright is Ann Marie; and comedian and actor Isiah Anderson Jr. plays Dr. Ramsey.
"I think we're misrepresented up on the big screen and I want people to see domestic violence is not just a disease of the impoverished, it's about the choices you make in your life," Holmes said.
Holmes, a twin and mother of four who has a set of her own twins, doubles as a schoolteacher at Alder Academy and works with the junior population of at-risk youth.
"W.O.E." was shown at the brand-new Festival Sundiata earlier this year and received rave reviews.
Holmes also has attended the American Black Film Festival in Miami, Fla., for the past four years and has attended the Tribeca Film Festival in New York for the past two.
"How unique it is that we could do something of this magnitude, coming out of Seattle," Holmes said. "Being from Seattle there is a wealth of talent here, you don't have to go to L.A. or New York to be successful."
"You can make it happen where you are at," Holmes said. "Don't let anyone discourage you from pursuing your dreams whatever they may be."
"In addition to raising awareness about domestic violence with the film, I also wanted to create a film industry here outside of L.A. or New York that supports us and enables us to tell our stories for years to come," she said.
Speaking about the recent domestic violence shooting at the University of Washington, Holmes said, "I think it's sad we have to wait to hear about it on CNN or the local news stations before it's breaking news or considered a big deal."
"Domestic abuse happens daily, it plagues women and children and can have devastating effects on them in the future, especially children," Holmes said. "There are more animal shelters than domestic violence shelters and that's a shame."
Holmes next project, "Let's Get Married," is the story of three models looking for money and love — in that order. With preproduction currently under way, the film will be out in the fall and will feature local talent and celebrity actors.
Another local filmmaker, Malik Isasis, will premier his film "Naked Life," a drama about relationship, desire, trust and loss, at the African American Film Festival.
To purchase a copy of "W.O.E."  or attend the screening, email fifthavenwfilms@yahoo.com; visit www.fifthavenuenwfilms.com or call 206-850-2721.
For more information about the African American Film Festival, visit www.langstonblackfilmfest.org or call 206-326-1088. To buy tickets, visit www.brownpapertickets.com.

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  • WASHINGTON (AP) — One month after the inauguration, the stretch of Pennsylvania Avenue in front of Donald Trump's White House still is a hard-hat zone. Skeletal remains of the inaugural reviewing stands poke skyward. Random piles of plywood and cables are heaped on the ground inside crooked lines of metal fencing. The disarray outside the president's front door, though not his fault, serves as a metaphor for the tumult still unfolding inside. Four weeks in, the man who says he inherited "a mess" at home and abroad is presiding over a White House that is widely described as itself being a mess. At a stunning pace, Trump has riled world leaders and frustrated allies. He was dealt a bruising legal blow on one of his signature policies. He lost his national security adviser and his pick for labor secretary to scandal. He's seen forces within his government push back against his policies and leak confidential information. All of this has played out amid a steady drip of revelations about an FBI investigation into his campaign's contacts with Russian intelligence officials. Trump says his administration is running like a "fine-tuned machine." He points to the rising stock market and the devotion of his still-loyal supporters as evidence that all is well, although his job approval rating is much lower than that for prior presidents in their first weeks in office. Stung by the unrelenting criticism coming his way, Trump dismisses much of it as "fake news" delivered by "the enemy of the people" — aka the press. Daily denunciations of the media are just one of the new White House fixtures Americans are adjusting to. Most days start (and end) with presidential tweets riffing off of whatever's on TV talk shows or teasing coming events or hurling insults at the media. At some point in the day, count on Trump to cast back to the marvels of his upset of Democrat Hillary Clinton in the November election and quite possibly overstate his margins of support. Expect more denunciations of the "dishonest" press and its "fake news." From there, things can veer in unexpected directions as Trump offers up policy pronouncements or offhand remarks that leave even White House aides struggling to interpret them. The long-standing U.S. policy of seeking a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict? Trump this past week offered this cryptic pronouncement: "I'm looking at two-state and one-state, and I like the one that both parties like. I can live with either one." His U.N. ambassador, Nikki Haley, the next day insisted, "We absolutely support a two-state solution." Trump's days are busy. Outside groups troop in for "listening sessions." Foreign leaders call or come to visit. (Or, in the case of Mexico's president, cancel out in pique over Trump's talk about the planned border wall.) After the president signed two dozen executive actions, the White House was awaiting a rush order of more of the gold-plated Cross pens that Trump prefers to the chrome-plated ones used by his predecessor. Trump hands them out as souvenirs at the signing ceremonies that he points to as evidence of his ambitious pace. "This last month has represented an unprecedented degree of action on behalf of the great citizens of our country," Trump said at a Thursday news conference. "Again, I say it. There has never been a presidency that's done so much in such a short period of time." That's all music to the ears of his followers, who sent him to Washington to upend the established order and play the role of disrupter. "I can't believe there's actually a politician doing what he says he would do," says an approving Scott Hiltgen, a 66-year-old office furniture sales broker from River Falls, Wisconsin. "That never happens." Disrupt Trump has. But there may be more sound and fury than substance to many of his early actions. Trump did select Judge Neil Gorsuch to replace the late Antonin Scalia on the Supreme Court, a nomination that has drawn strong reviews from conservatives. But the president is regrouping on immigration after federal judges blocked his order to suspend the United States' refugee program and ban visitors from seven Muslim-majority countries, which had caused chaos for travelers around the globe. Some other orders on issues such as the U.S.-Mexico border wall and former President Barack Obama's health care law are of limited effect. Trump says his early actions show he means to deliver on the promises he made during the campaign. 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Trump shouldn't mistake the fact that some of his supporters like his style with the fact that a lot of Republicans just want the policies he promised them. He has to deliver that." Put Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., in the camp of those more interested in substance than style. "I'm not a great fan of daily tweets," McConnell said Friday, referring to the "extra discussion" that Trump likes to engage in. But McConnell was quick to add: "What I am a fan of is what he's been actually doing." He credits Trump with assembling a conservative Cabinet and taking steps to reduce government regulation, and promised: "We like his positions and we're going to pursue them as vigorously as we can." The challenge may be to tease out exactly what Trump wants in the way of a health care plan, tax changes and trade policy. 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