NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – Tennessee State University Alum and Award-Winning Filmmaker Alan Nettles returned to campus on Dec. 14 to premiere his latest film project, “Wear The Crown.”
In ”Wear The Crown,” Nettles, who secured his Bachelor of Science degree in communication studies with a concentration in TV and film production from TSU in 2019, takes viewers inside the trying world of a family rocked by the news that their mother, Winnie Price, has been diagnosed with stage 4 liver cancer.
The evening began at 6:30 p.m. in the Cox-Lewis Theater with a pre-show performance by a group of creative artists called the Phoenix Troupe.
Filled with touching music and engaging subplots, “Wear The Crown,” which took five days to shoot, showcases various locations in Nashville, including Tennessee State University, Arlington United Methodist Church and Diamond Sound Studios. The crew also shot on location in Cadiz, Kentucky.
“Our preproduction was also very intense. We had about six weeks of rehearsals with the cast,” Nettles said. “We had a lot of different marketing events that we participated in from September until now. We did a huge crowd-funder campaign, and there were just so many different things that we were doing to really bring this film to life.”
Nettles, founder and CEO of Moving4ward Productions, the company responsible for the film, said “Wear The Crown” features numerous TSU alums, including Lynn Summers who portrays Winnie Price and Pamela Bennett, who portrays Mrs. Alexander.
Summers said the film takes a close look at the dynamics of family relationships.
“This film mirrors true society today. These are the trials and tribulations we go through each and every day,” she said. “Regardless of what happens, family is family. We should still love one another, and we should still get together.”
“Wear The Crown” was produced by an all-female team which includes: Cillea Houghton, producer; Janice Wheaton, executive producer; and Sabrina Moore, line producer. This is the first time all three have produced a film.
Moore, a former nuclear engineer who recently graduated from TSU with a bachelor’s degree in Mass Communications, said the film encourages people to take ownership of their lives, particularly their health.
“This film spotlights not only the issue of cancer, but of gender identity, depression and just how to accept yourself wherever you are in life,” she said. “Deal with your issues. Deal with your health. Deal with your mental stability. You can deal with it. Everybody is dealing with something in some shape, form or fashion, so take ownership of your body and your life.”
Nettles, whose debut film “3 Blind Boys on the Block” was named Best of Fest at the 2015 Chi-Town Multicultural Film Festival, said witnessing his aunt, Tracey Reid, battle cancer inspired him to make the film. He said the cast and crew worked tirelessly to produce a high-quality project that should strike a chord with anyone who has grappled with depression, grief or sickness.
“I’ve had to sacrifice life in order to breathe life into this production,” he said.
Nettles credits many of his professors at TSU, as well as his parents, with giving him the guidance and support necessary to achieve his creative aspirations.
“The faculty in the Department of Communications truly does care about its students, and if you allow them to love you, they will love you. You just have to be open to receive them,” he said.
Houghton said she hopes the film gives a voice to the voiceless.
“It’s shining a spotlight on important issues that I think will kind of resonate with everybody, from cancer to mental health, which is such a prominent issue today,” she said. “We just really hope they feel that their voice is in this story, that their story is in this film.”
“Wear the Crown” also features performances by the Phoenix Troupe, a group of African-American singers and creative artists, including 2014 Essence Festival “You’re My Star” contest winner Megan Broadnax; Jeffrey White of gospel duo Same Seed; Lynn Echo, who appeared on former BET show “Bobby Jones Gospel,” along with Kyiara Jackson, Aundra Keo Brown and April Sledge.
The premiere event also included a screening of the short film, “Loose Change,” written and directed by Moving4ward Productions assistant director of Creative Development, William Jenkins.
The event also honored cancer survivors related to members of the cast with the presentation of a special gift.
For more information about “Wear The Crown,” visit https://bit.ly/2PtbH1Z .
Department of Media Relations
Tennessee State University
3500 John Merritt Boulevard
Nashville, Tennessee 37209
About Tennessee State University
Founded in 1912, Tennessee State University is Nashville’s only public university, and is a premier, historically black university and land-grant institution offering 38 bachelor’s degree programs, 24 master’s degree programs, and seven doctoral degrees. TSU is a comprehensive research intensive institution with a R-2 Carnegie designation, and has a graduate school on its downtown Avon Williams Campus, along with the Otis Floyd Nursery Research Center in McMinnville, Tennessee. With a commitment to excellence, Tennessee State University provides students with a quality education in a nurturing and innovative environment that prepares them as alumni to be global leaders in every facet of society. Visit the University online at tnstate.edu.