Actress Yolonda Ross makes her directorial debut with the short film Breaking Night. Most recognizable for her roles in Antwone Fisher, HBO’s Stranger Inside and Treme, Ross played the mother of Sweetness O’Hara, the lead played by Zoe Kravitz in Victoria Mahoney‘s Yelling To The Sky featuring Tariq Trotter (Black Thought) of The Roots. She became inspired to direct her first film while promoting Yelling To The Sky during the New Orleans Film Festival in 2011.
“FINALLY!! A chance to see the images that would always come to mind whenever I would hear “Blinded By the Light.” Yeah, the song everybody’s heard at least one time in their life. I figured, why not? I wanted to try something fresh and new to me, so with Breaking Night I am telling a Universal story, using a 70’s classic rock song and actors that most likely wouldn’t have been cast (people of color) if this were actually done in the 70’s. Breaking Night was an exercise for me to tell this story with images and sound within the confines of a seven minute song. Like most pieces of art, it’s gonna touch each viewer differently. That’s the goal.”
Breaking Night stars Clarke Peters, Levi Fiehler, Otto DeJean, and Ross as the female lead who experiences a metamorphosis after leaving life in a small town to venture out into the world, ultimately changing her own perception of it by daybreak. The concept for the film was inspired by 70s rock classic “Blinded By The Light” – the Springsteen track made popular by Manfred Mann’s Earth Band. Ross’ Breaking Night is a 7 minute short film-music video hybrid shot on RED camera by cinematographer Justin Zweifach, who wanted to maintain the look and feel of a 70s film. Working closely with co-producers Timothy Mather and Sasha Solodukhina, the film was shot over four days between New Orleans and Baton Rouge, Louisiana.
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