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NYC Film Students Make Tampa Base Camp For Prima Donna Film

Two students, Laurie Thomas, writer/director, and Carmen Jimenez, producer, have decided that Lutz, Florida is the perfect place for their coming of age film piece.

Graduate students in Columbia University's MFA film program, Thomas and Jimenez are currently residing in Tampa and are in pre-production for the movie, Prima Donna. After a visit to her brother who lives in Tampa, Thomas found that she really liked the atmosphere and environment. Thomas says she found Tampa Bay to be very cinematic and they decided that it'd be the ideal location for Prima Donna.

Described as a tragic, coming-of-age film, Prima Donna is a about a 13-year-old African American girl who is an aspiring country music singer. The young girl's love for country music is inspired by her father. The father/daughter team set off on a road trip toward a singing competition. On the way, the girl's gambling father convinces her to stop at a gambling party, "... and that's where their relationship falls apart," says Thomas giggling, as she doesn't want to give away the juicy bits of the film.

The short-piece Supertwins is a sample project and an exploration of the film, working in the themes and ideas that Jimenez and Thomas are exploring for Prima Donna.

Thomas and Jimenez thought the most difficult part of the film would be casting a 13-year-old African American girl who sings country music, however, that turned out to be the easiest part of the project. Working with local Tampa and St. Petersburg middle and high schools, they held casting calls with the drama departments and found their lead. Actors in the film are: Sabri Morgan, Ronald Graham and Vincent Stalba.

During pre-production, Prima Donna is in team-building stages, finding resources like locations and equipment, and holding rehearsals with the actors. The shoot dates are August 7-11, 2010, and they'll be finalizing the last of their production needs before going into the five-day shoot.

Click here for more information about Prima Donna, or here to contribute or donate to the Prima Donna film project.

Writer: Nancy Vaughn
Source: Laurie Thomas, Prima Donna

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