Watch the Trailer for THE DESPAIRED, Coming to BET+ on May 2nd

Watch the Trailer for THE DESPAIRED, Coming to BET+ on May 2nd

Premiering May 2nd on BET+, The Despaired is a new horror film from director / co-writer Jean-Pierre Chapoteau. Starring Denise Boutte, Jared Wofford, Drew Sidora, TC Carson, CJ Sykes, Jon Avery, & Jason Louder, we have a look at the trailer and a Q&A with Jean-Pierre Chapoteau.

“Jill lost her husband during a violent crime. She receives a letter addressed “to the despaired” which resurrects him from the dead. Wayne tells Jill that in order for him to stay with her, Jill needs to find three souls that he can consume before the full moon. Jill makes a vow to only find people that “deserve” such a horrible demise, but her promise is at stake when otherworldly entities unwillingly assist her quest; all while she unfolds the mystery of who her husband truly was before his untimely death.”

The film was written by Jean-Pierre Chapoteau & Jennifer Pessima, executive produced by Jennifer Pessima, Quincy Kelly, Lorisa Bates, QVH Media, and features cinematography by Azariah Oldacre.

Director Q&A: 

What inspired you to make The Despaired?

Funny enough, my producer, Jennifer,  and I thought we were told to write a Christmas horror movie so we came up with this elaborate horror movie that took place during Christmas and sent in the treatment to the network. The exec loved it, but said we misheard the request and that she actually wanted a Christmas movie or a horror!. We had like a week to resubmit so we just met up at a coffee shop everyday and hammered out the concept that we have now. We each had something to say about when we came up with the concept. Jennifer wanted to talk about Soul Ties and how giving your body to an evil entity and going against God can literally drag you to hell. I’m Haitian-American and my grandmother always used to tell us super creepy stories about how Haitians would use voodoo to do really crazy stuff, and one of those was bringing people back from the dead. I also love a good Anti-hero, and a protagonist that is willing to do the wrong thing when given the choice to do the right, That always intrigued me, so combining all of our thoughts and experiences in life created “The Despaired”

How was it to work with named talent as a first time director?

It was a blessing to get the talent that we had. I was familiar with Denise Boutte’s from Tyler Perry movies and just black films from the 90s growing up. She is such a talented actress and really throws herself in the role. She admitted that she had never played in anything like this, and that my “mad scientist mind” really took her places that had to make her stretch as an actress. Man, I grew up watching Living Single, so being able to direct T.C. Carson was awesome! He came ready and prepared, and gave a spin to the character that only a seasoned vet could bring. He taught me that sometimes you’ve got to see where the actors take the characters and learn to apply that to your direction. It was like watching a master class on acting seeing TC work, and he was a really chill guy. Drew Sidora is such a ball of energy and she’s always all smiles. The way she would take in my direction and flip her character’s motivation on the fly was impressive.  It showed me that she took the craft seriously and put in a tone of work to be where she’s at now. I loved every second directing Drew on set.

What was it like working with heavy SFX, and working with Face/Off winner “Rashaad Santiago”

Going into this film, I knew I Wanted a lot of practical effects. I watched a ton of 80s horror films and the practical effects were always awesome, so I wanted realistic looking monsters in my film and everything as practical as possible. I heard that a lot of Black SFX artists don’t get a lot of chances in the industry to lead an SFX team so I made the conscious decision to find one. I already knew of Rashaad because I was a huge fan of Face/Off, it’s a special effects competition show, and he was the only black guy to win it. But, in my mind, there is no way in hell I’m getting him on our little indie film because he’s big time. So I scoured the internet for other black sfx people that have created full body monster suits for film, but I kept coming back to Rashaad. I think finally my producer, Jennifer Pessima,  just reached out to him because the worst he could say was no, and he actually agreed to do it!  So we were able to get Rashaad to make some pretty elaborate and awesome pieces for us which I will forever be grateful for, and he’s such a cool dude, he’s definitely a friend for life.

How do you see this film contributing to the larger conversation in the film industry or society?

My goal as a filmmaker is to place people of color in spaces we typically don’t see ourselves in. Black people are multidimensional. I want to create Horror, sci-fi and any genre that suspends our belief but the majority of the cast will be us. The Despaired is a supernatural horror dealing with demons, possessions and has full blown monsters, and I want to see black folks fight those monsters. I know if we continue to push unconventional stories with black faces in them, we’ll get opportunities to create more diverse content.

What other films do you have coming up next? 

Right now we’re working on a Trell Donk Webb bio-pic, two other horror features in the pitch phase, and also a social commentary horror series set in the hood which I’m super excited about.

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