HAMPTON, Va. (December 11, 2018) – Hampton University staff, faculty, friends and family walked the red carpet laid out in the lobby of the Cinema Café in Hampton, VA for the launch screening of the six-part miniseries, “Jacqueline and Jilly.”
“I thought the movie was absolutely incredible. This movie reveals the struggles that families deal with every day in regards to opioid addiction. It doesn't matter the race, creed or color, this problem affects all families. I always tell our students to stay away from drugs, because they will ruin your life,” said Hampton University President, Dr. William R. Harvey. “Ms. Rowell was a joy to work with on this project. On her movie debut, my daughter, Leslie, also did an amazing job. Ms. Rowell and her crew are invited back to Hampton any time.”
“Jacqueline and Jilly” is a six-part miniseries which was filmed on Hampton University’s campus, in VC Suites and the Hampton University Museum, the oldest African American museum in the United States and one of the oldest museums in the state of Virginia. HU staff and students acted as extras, including Hampton University President, Dr. William R. Harvey, and his daughter, Leslie Cash. The series stars Victoria Rowell (“The Young and the Restless”), alongside Richard Brooks, Daphne Maxwell Reid, Nikko Austen Smith and Shannon Wallace. Zachary L. Hines II, Hampton University alum, was the composer for the miniseries.
The first launch screening of the series was a raving success as one theater in the Cinema Café on a rainy Sunday evening, was packed to its entirety. Many in the community came out for the premiere, including Congressman Bobby Scott, Newport News Mayor, McKinley Price who is a Hampton University alum, and almost the entire cast of the series.
“It’s a movie about three generations of black women, two shattered dreams and one accidental addiction. The movie is anchored in opioid addiction, and how a family struggles to overcome denial and get to recovery,” Rowell said. “We have an amazing cast and it wouldn’t have been possible if we didn’t have the great support of President William Harvey, Mrs. Harvey, Hampton University and the staff for allowing us to film there, the Virginia Film office, the Virginia Board of Tourism Corporation, Mayor McKinley Price, Congressman Bobby Scott, former Congresswoman Thelma Drake, and more. There are so many people that make a movie happen. I was honored to co-write, direct, and executive produce ‘Jacqueline and Jilly,’ and we hope this six-part miniseries will open up conversations with family, friends, colleagues, and communities without judgment and shame.”
Once guests in the theater were seated, a letter from Attorney General Mark Herring was read, in where he stated, “Thank you for the tremendous service that you are doing to bring awareness to the opioid epidemic that is affecting not only the Commonwealth of Virginia, but also our country. You are not only helping to reduce the stigma of opioid addiction, but also bringing to light the reality of opioid addiction in the Black family. By continuing work to change the views on addiction, we can make sure that this population and others no longer feel overlooked or neglected,” he said.
After the screening, there was a Q&A session focused on opioid addiction and what is being done in the Commonwealth of Virginia to alleviate opioid abuse.
Nikko Austen Smith plays “Jilly” in the series. She is a graduate of Coastal Carolina University and began film work in 2015. “My character is overcoming struggle, going through so much and it’s a reflection of what happens when a person becomes addicted, unfortunately. It was just so amazing to be part of this story and being able to tell it,” Smith said.
Richard Brooks plays “Magnus,” the father of “Jilly.” He has acted in several television series’ and movies and is best known for his role as Paul Robinette on “Law & Order.” “We’re excited to be here in Hampton for this premiere. Shooting on Hampton University’s historical campus was a positive experience. It was great to see the history and the community and the facilities, it’s a beautiful campus,” Brooks said.
“Jacqueline and Jilly” can be seen on the Urban Movie Channel (UMC), on Amazon Prime Video, and at Cinema Café in Hampton, VA until Thursday, December 13, 2018.