Emerging Miami filmmaker Edson Jean will premiere his debut narrative feature, “Ludi,” at the 38th annual Miami Film Festival as its opening night film on March 5, 2021. Filmed entirely in South Florida with a local cast and crew, “Ludi” serves as an ideal complement to this year’s festival, whose theme is celebrating Miami and its world famous “305”area code.
The film follows a hardworking Haitian immigrant nursing assistant named Ludi whose half truths lead to a string of mishaps, and exacerbate her longing for home. “Ludi” explores a myriad of poignant themes such as the complexities of the immigrant experience, the plight of women in the workplace and the reality of the American Dream.
The screenplay is a collaboration between Jean and co-writer Joshua Jean-Baptiste and was inspired by the experiences of Jean’s mother after she emigrated from Haiti.
“Growing up I never saw the Haitian culture represented authentically on film,” Jean said. “This film is a step toward reclaiming our stories and reframing the narratives around our existence. ‘Ludi’ is a story specific to me, yet universal in scope. Everyone has or knows a Ludi in their life.”
“Ludi” is the first film to emerge from the Cinematic Arts Residency by Oolite Arts, a program that aims to help fast forward the careers of Miami filmmakers by giving them
$50,000 to conceptualize and create a micro-budget feature film. “'Ludi is a quintessentially Miami story that will resonate both here and around the country," said Dennis Scholl, president and CEO of Oolite Arts. "Oolite Arts' Cinematic Arts program is here to help locally-based filmmakers bring Miami stories to the big screen, and help them advance their careers. ‘Ludi’ is the perfect example of what's possible, and representative of the talent we have in our community."
Notable cast and crew members include Miami native Shein Mompremier, who displays a breakthrough performance as the titular character and is well met by supporting actor, Alan Myles Heyman. “It’s an honor to play ‘Ludi’ and a profound experience to do so in my mother tongue for the first time,” Mompremier said. The film also introduces social media personalities Success St. Fleur Jr. and Plus Pierre in grounded roles outside of their better-known sketch comedy personas. Crew members include Jonathan Cuartas, director of “My Heart Can’t Beat Unless You Tell it To,” who edited “Ludi”, and Darnell Monestime, a self-taught musician and music producer who composed the film score. The film was produced by Fabiola Rodriguez, whom Jean has partnered with to launch Bantufy Films, a production company focused on creating low- and micro-budget films featuring stories from perspectives traditionally absent or misrepresented in usual industry fare. “‘Ludi’ is a beautiful film with an authentic perspective on the immigrant experience in the United States,” said Rodriguez, an immigrant herself. “Most of our cast and crew are immigrants or the children of immigrants, and that’s really important to us.”
Jean is thrilled that the Miami Film Festival will screen the world premiere of “Ludi.” “A film made in Miami, by Miamians, to premiere at the Miami Film Festival on Miami’s 305 day, March 5th. It’s the perfect launch,” he said. “The world, and particularly this country, is ready for a film like [this].”
Director Edson Jean and other notable cast and crew listed above are available for interviews.
About “Ludi” and Bantufy:
Bantufy Films is an independent media production company based in Miami, Florida. Inspired by the African word “bantu,” Bantufy’s aim is to build community through storytelling. “Ludi” is the first film to be produced under the Bantufy banner. In addition to Oolite Arts, support for Ludi was provided by:
U.S. in Progress Wroclaw, Southern Producers Lab | New Orleans Film Society, Independent Film Project (IFP), One County Film Company, Fixafilm and Soundflower Studio. For more information, visit www.bantufy.com or follow on social media at: @LudiFilm and @Bantufy on Instagram and Facebook, and @BantufyFilms on Twitter.
About Edson Jean:
Edson Jean is a Haitian-American actor/writer/director and an IFP Narrative Labs alum. He most recently was nominated for a Streamy and MIPCOM award for directing all eight (23 minute) episodes of his dramedy, “Grown,” for Complex Networks. Edson also wrote, directed, and starred in “The Adventures of Edson Jean,” which aired on HBO/HBOGO. As an actor he was most recently seen in A24’s “Moonlight,” Warner Bros. Pictures’ ”War Dogs,” HBO's “Ballers” and Netflix’s “Bloodline.”