Director/producer Mel Jones brings ‘Leimert Park’ to Sundance 2018
LAPACAZO SANDOVAL | 2/1/2018, 4:57 p.m.
In 2015, our team selected up-and-coming indie film producer Mel Jones as someone on the rise, so to speak, and featured her in the “On the Verge” column.
At this year’s Sundance and under their Indie Episodic program, “Leimert Park” made a considerable splash among industry professionals and audiences after its premiere Jan. 23, which featured a panel of the “Leimert Park” creators, Mel Jones, Davita Scarlett and Kady Kamakaté.
“Leimert Park” is produced by Macro Ventures and Homegrown Pictures and takes its name and swagger from the urban section of the South Los Angeles funky, residential neighborhood.
The comedic series primarily focuses on three friends sharing a house in South L.A. Mickey (Ashley Blaine Featherson) is married but struggling to connect in the bedroom. The couples’ roommates include Bridget (Ashli Haynes), smitten by a visiting (male) artist, and Kendra (Asia’h Epperson), who records videos of herself having cybersex for an art project she’s hoping to create.
They all live under one roof inside Leimert Park.
Written by Scarlett and directed by Jones, “Leimert Park” gets off with a sexual bang as each member learns how to use a new sex toy. This discovery aptly sets the tone for a “Girls Trip” style of raunchy “girl talk” on such topics as cybersex, sex toys and pegging.
This episode isn’t perfect but it does show promise. One key ingredient missing is that the men in their lives don’t seem very interesting, despite this series having a well-cast lead trio of actresses—unknowns, true, but brimming with promise.
What I loved about “Leimert Park” was a strong sense of neighborhood that I can best describe as Harlem-meets-Brooklyn, which are now being threatened by gentrification.
A strong pilot gives me hope that the women of “Leimert Park” will find a home and let us back into their quirky and interesting lives.