Boosting one of the key upcoming titles coming out of Latin America, renowned Haitian-American actor-producer Jimmy Jean-Louis (“Desrances,” “Rattlesnakes,” “Heroes”), also an increasing driving force on the Latin American and African production scene, is coming on board to executive produce director José María Cabral’s historic drama “Parsley” (“Perejil”).
In parallel news, New York-based Visit Films is handling world sales rights on the feature, which is set during the 1937 Parsley Massacre, when Dominican dictator Rafael Trujillo ordered the execution of Haitian families and Dominicans of Haitian descent on the country’s frontier with Haiti.
With Cabral just having screened at the Miami Film Festival his latest feature, the Latido-sold “Hotel Coppelia,” again for Lantica Media, Visit Films will initiate a fall festival campaign for “Parsley.”
“Parsley’s” true-event background is shocking, and little known. “ ‘Parsley’ is a story about human tragedy where race takes the center stage and represents a part of history that needs to be told,” said Jean-Louis. “I am thrilled to collaborate with Jose Maria, a very talented filmmaker.”
“Making this film was really special,” Cabral said. “It’s a very dark chapter in the history of the island that we don’t want to face. Not only is this a story about Dominican and Haitian history, but it’s also relevant to audiences worldwide.”
Inspired by true events, “Parsley” is set on the Dominican-Haiti border where a young Haitian woman Marie is expecting her first child with her Dominican husband, Frank.
Awakened by distant screams, she flees to the next town over to try to find Frank, to no avail. Alone, nine months pregnant, with nothing but the clothes on her back and nowhere to hide, she must flee through the dense hinterland – before the Parsley Massacre catches up with her.
“Parsley” stars Cyndie Lundi, Ramón Emilio Candelario (Cabral’s “Woodpeckers”), Gerardo Mercedes (Cabral’s “The Projectionist”), and Juan María Almonte (“Duarte, Traición y Gloria”).
“It was devastating for me and the actors to portray such horrific events, but we understood the importance of making this film as a movie that puts faces to the people who suffered from this massacre, rather than numbers,” Cabral said.
“Parsley” is produced by Rafael Elías Muñoz for Lantica Media, a Dominican content industry powerhouse that also operates the Pinewood Dominican Republic Studios.
The first Dominican filmmaker to have a film at the Sundance Film Festival, “Woodpeckers” (“Carpinteros”), a heavily-researched take on the Dominican Republic’s prison system, Cabral is a leading light in a new generation of Dominican incentives-backed auteurs who combine a sense of genre and narrative urgency often with an arthouse social edge.
Fresh off a best actor prize at the AMAA, Africa’s equivalent of the Oscars, for his performance in Apolliné Traore’s Burkina Faso feature “Desrances,” Jean-Louis is best known for his regular role in TNT’s “Claws,” and for starring in NBC hit series “Heroes.”
Based out of his Jet Media Productions label, he has used his Hollywood fame to leverage profile and contribute expertise to such films as Pan African Film Festival audience award winner “Rattlesnakes,” which he produced and starred in. He can be seen in Kunle Afolayan’s Netflix Original film “Citation.” He is represented by Alta Global Media.