As a model, actress, entrepreneur, author, and producer, it’s a wonder that Kenya Moore had time to talk about her latest project, the film “Haitian Nights.”
The movie is about Haitian newlyweds become the object of a powerful voodoo priest who exacts revenge on his daughter’s behalf.
Moore, who shot to fame in 1993 when she became the second African American to win the Miss USA title, stars in and produces the film, but certain circumstances made her the director, too.
“I direct about 30% of the movie,” she told Lee Bailey. “We lost our director about half way through. So part of my job was picking up all the pieces. I always wanted to direct and actually another film I was working on called ‘Pudding’, I was trying to set it up where I would direct that film. I thought ‘Pudding’ would be my directorial debut, but it just turns out that God had another plan for me. I ended up directing all the footage in Haiti and a lot of what we shot in Miami as well.”
There’s already a lot of buzz on the film although Moore said its theatrical release won’t be until early next year. “Haitian Nights” was named as a nominee in this year’s American Black Film Festival’s Grand Jury Prize for Best Film.
“I’m really excited about it and right now we’re getting a distribution deal. It’s a thriller, it’s action, it’s sexy,” she described.
The script was based in Haiti, so Moore said that the shooting locale was already a done deal. What she wasn’t so sure of was how much she would enjoy filming there.
“We shot a behind-the-scenes special in Haiti. It’s incredible,” she said. “I think every black person in their lifetime should take the time to visit Haiti. Yes, there’s such poverty and you hear about all this violence, but I tell you, it was so uplifting and enlightening. Overall, the one thing that took me aback the most is that they are such proud people. They’re hopeful and resilient and just beautiful-spirited people. That’s what touched me the most about this entire project was being able to experience Haiti.”
With all the hats this model is wearing, Moore admitted that she is very excited about being a producer.
“I’m so happy to be producing right now,” she said. “This is my first produce-by credit. I’m also executive producing a Meagan Good picture called ‘Sundays in Ft. Green’ next and then ‘Pudding’ is on the slate. I’m also setting up a TV show that four networks are interested in. More than likely, with that kind of interest, you’ll see us on TV next year.”
“I like all aspects of entertainment,” she continued. “I love to act. I love to produce. I want to continue to produce movies for myself and also movies for other actors. I don’t want to act in every movie that I produce. I just want to produce solid films. So whether there’s a part in there for me or not, I want to focus on empowering black writers, black directors, black filmmakers. We need to produce projects that we want to see. We don’t need to limit ourselves with the material that the studios may or may not respond to, but we know we want to see it.”
“I’m really excited,” she said. “Just to get our film all the way to the ABFF and even though we didn’t ‘Wow’. People really responded to this material. I want to feel that feeling again on every project that I do.”
“Haitian Nights” is expected to be released early next year, in small limited theatrical release, followed by a TV premiere and then home video release.
In the meantime, Moore will stay quite busy with her other projects including the Kenya Moore Foundation in 2004, which provides education scholarships to young women and promoting her hot-selling book called “Game – Get Some.”
“I’ve been doing book signings all over the country. It’s just been really well received. I’m really excited about that”
For those keeping score, she’s a beauty queen, an actress, a model, an entrepreneur, a producer, and a director. There is, however, one title that Moore is disputing – wife.
“There was a still release with me in a wedding dress with my co-star in the movie. Everybody was saying that I was married and using this elaborate story that my ex busted up the wedding. Not true! It’s a still from the movie. The guy in the picture is my actor. I am very single! They’re messing up my whole game!”
Get more info on Moore at www.kenyamoore.com