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Print Story Font SizeLocal film up for coveted NAACP Image Award
By RICK de YAMPERT, Entertainment Writer
January 15, 2011 12:05 AM Posted in: East Volusia Tagged:Mary Fears , NAACP Mary Fears talks behind the scenes during filming for 'Filling the Gap' at the Casements in Ormond Beach. (N-J file) Part of the filming of “Filling the Gap” took place at The Casements in Ormond Beach in 2007. The film, co-produced and mostly written by local historian Mary Fears, has been nominated for an NAACP Image Award. (N-J file) More information:

NAACP Image Awards
DAYTONA BEACH -- Denzel Washington, Halle Berry, Kanye West and Condoleezza Rice -- all nominees for the 42nd NAACP Image Awards -- will have some local company this year.

The documentary film "Filling the Gap," which was co-produced, researched and mostly written by Daytona Beach resident Mary Fears, has been nominated for an NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Television Movie, Mini-Series or Dramatic Special.

The film also features a number of local residents in acting roles, as well as locally shot scenes.

According to the website of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, the awards celebrate "the outstanding achievements and performances of people of color in the arts as well as those individuals or groups who promote social justice." The awards will be televised at 8 p.m. March 4 on Fox, Ch. 35.

"Filling the Gap" depicts "information left out of school textbooks about African-American contributions to the growth and development of this country, " said Fears, a retired school media specialist, storyteller and Civil War re-enactor.

The documentary includes portrayals of inventors, artisans and craftsmen, both slaves and free people of color. They include Elizabeth Keckley, the personal seamstress for Mary Todd Lincoln and founder of an organization of black women who assisted former slaves, and Benjamin Bradley, a 16-year-old who built -- and sold -- his design for a steamboat engine.

The 83-minute movie also depicts Frederick Douglass' meeting with President Abraham Lincoln, Sojourner Truth's "Ain't I a Woman" speech, and how people of color served in the Civil War in both military and noncombat roles.

"Everything we did was as authentic as we could make it," Fears said. "We filmed at historic sites, including a 135-year-old church in Jacksonville. The military scenes were done at Civil War re-enactments. They (re-enactors) go all out to make uniforms and clothing exactly the way they were made during those days."

Fears diligently researched the clothing worn by African-Americans during the Civil War era, although "trying to find photographs of black people during that time" was a challenge, she said.

The 200-member cast includes area residents Peromnia Grant as Keckley, retired Bethune-Cookman University professor Cleo Higgins as Sojourner Truth and Mary Lee Sweet as Mary Todd Lincoln. John H. Anderson Jr., Fears' son, portrays Frederick Douglass. Orlando-area resident Tyrone Young directed the film, which aired locally on WDSC, the PBS affiliate at Daytona State College.

The NAACP Image Awards present honors in 53 categories among five divisions: television, motion pictures, recording, writing and directing, and literature. The NAACP received 1,200 entries and selected five nominees in each of the 53 categories.

Voting is open only to members of the NAACP. Fears is urging people who have seen the film "to join the NAACP so that they will be eligible to vote."
Posted By: Min Sammy Jackson
Tuesday, February 1st 2011 at 7:56PM
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