BY JAMES HARPER
A film producer who was born and raised in Daytona Beach has chosen her hometown to be one of two cities for the world premiere of her movie “The Dark Party,” which was directed and stars Kadeem Hardison, who was in TV sitcoms “A Different World” and “The Cosby Show.’’
Salenta Baisden, whose mother Ophelia Smith and siblings Kim Moten and Ronald Smith still reside in Daytona Beach, told the Daytona Times that the East Coast premiere will be May 30 at the Cinematique of Daytona, located at 242 South Beach St.
Baisden is now a California resident and is planning another premiere in Los Angeles the same day. She will Skype into Daytona Beach prior to the start of the film here.
At this time, Baisden said she couldn’t confirm which stars, including Hardison, would be at the world premiere.
“All the actors are working actors and are on location doing other projects,” she said.
DVD coming soon
Baisden said that shortly after the world premiere DVD copies will be available for sale. She expects a wider release to other theaters before the DVD release.
“It’s not direct to video. DVD release will not occur until after the showing. It really looks good on a large screen. The people who do not buy DVDs should have an opportunity to see this movie,” she continued.
Though it is considered a low budget film, Baisden said what they spent to produce the film was higher than the average low budget independent film.
Baisden would only say her contractual agreement with the Screen Actors Guild required her to spend at least a half-million dollars.
Remembering her roots
Baisden credits Daytona, her family and the community for the end product.
“This is the result of nurturing and education I got from living in Daytona Beach, attending Mainland High School and graduating from then Bethune-Cookman College. Those are my educational roots,” she said.
Featuring a multicultural cast, Baisden said the move is about two friends who want to find true love without playing games. “The friends come up with an ultimate blind date party that turns into a serious social experiment,” she said.
The premiere will start at 7:30 p.m. on May 30 at the Cinematique of Daytona.
“The Dark Party,” was one of seven movies chosen at last year’s American Black Film Festival (ABFF). The festival took place in Miami June 20-23.
“My experience at ABFF was very positive,” said Baisden.
“The audience response was spontaneous laughter; some audience members were very vocal, which led to more laughter and fun,” Baisden remarked.
“The festival made me more resolute in my plans to bring the project to market as soon as possible. I feel confident that the public will enjoy watching what we have created,” noted Baisden.
Baisden was mainly responsible for getting the money to do the film and was listed on the credits as executive producer and co-writer.
From start to finish, Baisden said it took her five years to complete the film in order to enter it in competition and eventually a theatrical release.