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James Hunter’s Red Carpet Premiere of ‘The Breaking Point’ Captures Universal City Walk



by Mellissa Thomas

In Hunter’s own words, Hollywood came to Orlando last night: red carpet, TV interviews, photographers, and all. One year and forty grand later, his independent crime drama, The Breaking Point, premiered at Universal Orlando City Walk’s AMC Theaters with two sold-out showings: one at 7:30 p.m. and the other at 9 p.m. Considering the theater had a 328-seat capacity, that’s saying something.

"The Breaking Point" director and producer James Hunter (left) with editor Cody Foltz at the Orlando Premiere at Universal Orlando City Walk

“The Breaking Point” director and producer James Hunter (left) with Editor Cody Foltz at the Orlando premiere. Source: Cody Foltz.


The ‘Breaking’ Crowd

The entire AMC Theaters rotunda was packed with sharply dressed attendees, film cast, photographers, and special guests, with the red carpet leading straight to the main entry door. Tourists and Orlando residents alike saw the crowd and wondered what was going on. I personally explained the event to a gentleman, who very excitedly relayed to his granddaughter, “It’s a movie premiere, honey,” and pointing several feet to his left at a group of finely dressed men and women standing side-by-side bombarded with flash bulbs, added, “And those are the actors.”

'The Breaking Point' lead cast takes Universal City Walk's AMC Theaters by storm. Source: JrPhotography.

‘The Breaking Point’ lead cast takes Universal City Walk’s AMC Theaters by storm, including Erik Grey (2nd from left), Diana Lovell (center), Roy Williams Jr. (2nd from right), and Reggie Peters (right). Source: JrPhotography.


Indeed, Diana Lovell and Erik Grey, the film’s two leading stars, staged a fashionably delayed VIP arrival (for dramatic effect, of course) and electrified the place, which was already filled with excited crew members, cast members and their families, and devoted fans. Special guest VIPs included former Essence Magazine president Jonathan Sebastian Blount, Sea World DoubleTree Suites owner Dr. Richmond McCoy, who hosted the night’s VIPs at his hotel, Caribbean Passport News Magazine publishers Guenet Gittens-Roberts and her husband Sam Roberts, RYSE Media founder and CEO J. Jackson, Sr., Comedian and talk show host Samy Priso, Lucius Baston (who starred in Kevin Hart’s Ride Along), and Florida Civil Rights Association State President J. Willie David III, one of Hunter’s co-producers. Eatonville Mayor Bruce Mount and National Circle of Friends President Paul Stevens were also there.

Most of the film’s cast were in attendance, including actor, director, and Full Sail professor Kevin O’Neill, Daniel Wachs, Shellita Boxie, Tracy Wiu, Wendell Kinney, Reggie Peters, Roy Williams Jr., emerging child star Jackie Dozier, and Alyssia Bateman. Ms. International World Jennifer Rosario, who also stars in the film, was presented the 2015 Woman of the Year Award at the event by the Ms. Latina International and Ms. International World organizations.


Flying High

Dozens of independent photographers were on site to capture the event, including Hunter’s longtime colleague Navid John Namazi, but DeMarco Films took the cake. At approximately 6:40 p.m., Vincent DeMarco activated his company’s white four-propeller camera drone, which was approved by Universal, and launched it straight upward, holding the crowd’s attention for a solid five minutes as it ascended high enough to nearly not be seen anymore. “I hope that thing doesn’t fall,” Priso joked as we all watched it rise into the semi-cloudy evening sky. DeMarco successfully stole the most awe-inspiring shot of the evening: an aerial that encompassed the entire rotunda, attendees, red carpet, and televised interviews.

DeMarco Films's camera drone rose several thousand feet into the air to capture the AMC Theaters courtyard

DeMarco Films’s camera drone rose several hundred feet into the air to capture the AMC Theaters courtyard. Source: DeMarco Films.


I complemented him on the device and remarked on how high he sent it. “Oh yeah, it can go above the clouds, and like five miles away [in any direction],” DeMarco explained.


Red Carpet Rockers

Once Hunter announced that AMC and Universal approved the event to be a red carpet affair, everyone brought their A-game. The men wore crisp, tailored two- and three-piece suits, and the ladies brought out their most stunning dresses, gowns, and shoes. National journalist, entrepreneur, and mentor Dr. Denise Y. Mose conducted the red carpet interviews, looking equally striking in her short one-shoulder red dress with slightly deeper red heels (which matched her nail polish) and fresh coif.

And who could possibly ignore Diana Lovell’s tasseled plunge number? Red is already a demanding color, but the dress hugged her every curve beautifully, daring you to peek behind the curtain – a fitting homage to her character in the film, the aggressive and ambitious Assistant District Attorney Ballard.

Dr. Denise Y. Mose (in red at left) holds an animated interview with Diana Lovell. Source: JrPhotography.

Dr. Denise Y. Mose (in red at left) holds an animated interview with Diana Lovell. Source: JrPhotography.


The night’s winner was Jenny Rosario, decked out in full ballroom style in a Steven Yearick ruched red sleeveless mermaid dress.

"The Breaking Point" co-star Jenny Rosario (second from right) receives her 2015 Woman of the Year Award at the Orlando premiere.

“The Breaking Point” co-star Jenny Rosario (second from right) receives her 2015 Woman of the Year Award. Source: Jenny Rosario.


RYSE Media CEO J. Jackson (below, right) kept it simple but elegant in a cafe-au-lait suit adding a just-right pop of color with his pink kerchief.

Samy Priso (second from left), Kareen Kennedy (second from right), and J. Jackson, Sr. at "The Breaking Point" Orlando premiere

Samy Priso (second from left), Kareen Kennedy, and J. Jackson, Sr. at “The Breaking Point” Orlando premiere. Source: Kareen Kennedy.


Actress Kareen Kennedy (next to Jackson above) dazzled in an off-white getup with complementing proportions — the long coat made a great contrast to the short dress.


The Main Event

The Breaking Point clocks in at just over an hour, holding your eyes to the screen minute by gritty, graphic, minute. Erik Grey’s Sean, who narrates the movie, leads an offbeat orchestra of misguided young men and ends up caught in the wrong place at the wrong time – with his younger brother Mike (aka “Slim”), played by Reggie Peters. Sean, whose heart is in the right place, is understandably hard on Mike for quitting school and following him into the streets, and decides to do what’s necessary to make sure his little brother doesn’t end up in jail. Roy Williams Jr.’s TJ (aka “Pop Off”) is the movie’s consistent wild card, living up to his nickname with an otherworldly fervor.

Lovell’s upstart Ballard is assigned to the murder case and does whatever it takes to get the outcome she wants, even if that means obliterating ethical boundaries.

The movie has its share of comical moments as well, which weren’t lost on the audience. Nearly the whole room laughed when expected to.

One word of caution: The Breaking Point is not for kids. In a previous interview, Hunter explained that the movie is PG-13, but its numerous sex scenes, gun violence, and profanity causes it to skirt the R line.

All in all, the movie was entertaining yet relatable, and even scandalous, eliciting several “oohs” and “wows.”


After the Show, It’s the After Party

Though The Breaking Point packed the AMC Theater courtyard, Bob Marley: A Tribute to Freedom, the event’s meet-and-greet after party venue, was owned. According to co-producer J. Willie David III, Bob Marley’s reported that the after party was its highest Sunday night turnout in fifteen years. Attendees from the 7:30 p.m. show (myself included) headed straight there, readying the staff for the 9:00 p.m. viewing attendees.

Cast, crew, and supporters had drinks, food, and a good time, taking photos galore and congratulating the stars, including Hunter himself. The party lasted well into the wee hours.

Diana Lovell with soccer star Miky Gallardo at "The Breaking Point" after party at Bob Marley's

Diana Lovell with soccer star Miguel Gallardo at “The Breaking Point” after party at Bob Marley: A Tribute to Freedom at Universal Orlando City Walk. Source: Diana Lovell.


The Breaking Point’s Future

Hunter plans to have similar premieres in other big cities, including New York, which is the team’s next stop, and Washington D.C. He aims to raise enough demand to get distributors’ attention so the movie can be seen on a national scale.

A popular pessimistic maxim has been flying around Orlando for several years now: It’s difficult to find support here for independent projects. However, Hunter’s premiere blew that notion, and any rocks Orlando socialites were hiding under, to shreds. Hundreds of Orlando’s best and brightest turned out to support a filmmaker’s dream in fruition, and considering how many hundreds of people Hunter has inspired in his brief Orlando tenure with his tenacity, confidence, and focus, it wouldn’t have happened any other way. As he would say, “Can’t stop, won’t stop.”

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Mellissa Thomas headshotAbout the Author:
Orlando Fashion Magazine Chief Editor Mellissa Thomas is a Jamaica-born writer. She’s a decorated U.S. Navy veteran with Entertainment Business Masters and Film Bachelors degrees from Full Sail University in Winter Park, FL.

She’s currently available for hire, writing content for websites, blogs, and marketing material. She also writes poetry, screenplays, and ghostwrites books.

She has published four books, all available on Her most recent release, “Faded Diamonds”, is now available in paperback on all major online book retailers and digitally available on the Kindle, Nook, and iTunes Bookstore.



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Mister Rogers’ Week of Kindness Coming March 2023



WINTER PARK, Fla. (Florida National News) – Mister Rogers’ Week of Kindness, inspired by the children’s TV host and icon, comes to Orlando in March 2023. This week-long series of events was announced today at the Edyth Bush Charitable Foundation in Winter Park.

“Fred McFeely Rogers devoted his entire life to reminding us of some of the most important ideas of what it means to be human among humans: love, respect and kindness,” explained Buena Vista Events & Management President & CEO Rich Bradley. “Many of us find that nearly 20 years after Fred’s passing, it is important to focus on his teachings once again, perhaps now more than ever. This is a week to re-engage with his massive body of work with some folks, and to introduce his teachings to others.”

Mister Rogers’ Week of Kindness begins March 20, 2023, the date which would have been Fred’s 95th birthday, and concludes on Saturday, March 26 with the Red Sweater Soiree, a community dinner to recognize ten ordinary members of the community who inspire and exemplify the affinity that Fred Rogers had for showing kindness to our “Neighbors”.

Mister Rogers Week of Kindness coming March 20-26, 2023. Photo Credit: Mike Brodsky (Florida National News)

Activities planned for the week will include early childhood education activities and faculty training, as well as events open to the public.

“The events will be offered free or at low cost,” continued Bradley. “This week-long celebration is not a series of fundraisers, but rather about once again remembering and sharing some of the great work that Fred Rogers created, not only in early childhood education, but in reminding us that we are all part of one big ‘neighborhood’. Fred taught us the importance of accepting our Neighbors just the way they are and engaging in kindness with our interactions. I can’t think of another period in my lifetime where we needed to reflect on those messages again more than today.”

“There are three ways to ultimate success,” Fred Rogers was once quoted as saying. “The first way is to be kind. The second way is to be kind. The third way is to be kind. Imagine what our neighborhoods would be like if each of us offered, as a matter of course, just one kind word to another person.”

Many of the activities of Mister Rogers’ Week of Kindness will be attended by members of the cast and crew of Mister Rogers Neighborhood, which ran from 1968 – 1975, and again from 1979 – 2001. David Newell, known as “Mr. McFeely,” the “Speedy Delivery” man, appeared at today’s media conference via video, and looks forward to visiting Central Florida next March.

David Newell, “Mr. McFeely.” Photo Credit: Mike Brodsky (Florida National News)

Mister Rogers’ Week of Kindness is supported by the McFeely-Rogers Foundation, the Fred Rogers Institute, and Fred Rogers Productions. Details regarding the specific activities and venues will be released over the next few weeks.

For more information on the events, visit or

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A Quick Primer on the Team Solving Orange County’s Affordable Housing Crisis



Orange County’s Housing for All Task Force held its introductory meeting on April 12, 2019 at the Board of County Commissioner Chambers. Photo: Orange County Government.

ORLANDO, Fla. (FNN NEWS) – Orange County faces a growing affordable housing crisis, and Mayor Jerry Demings has taken notice–and action. Shortly after his inauguration, he formed Housing For All, an affordable housing task force to face the challenge head-on.

The Housing For All task force doesn’t meet monthly like the County Commission–in fact, their next meeting won’t be until October 4, 2019–but they do work when they’re not meeting. The task force is made up of three subcommittees, Design and Infrastructure Subcommittee, Accessibility and Opportunity Subcommittee and Innovation and Sustainability Subcommittee. These three subcommittees meet twice a month to come up with ideas and plans to fix the affordable housing problem.

Each subcommittee has a specific focus on ways to help solve the problem of affordable housing. The Design and Infrastructure Subcommittee is focused on the design of new affordable housing projects, the renovation of current affordable housing that might need fixing and land development for affordable housing units. The Accessibility and Opportunity Subcommittee is focused on making sure affordable housing is accessible to the major economic zones of the city, develop partnerships with groups and focus on outreach in the county. The Innovation and Sustainability Subcommittee is focused on finding ways to increase the supply of affordable housing and how to preserve affordable housing.

At their next meeting in October these subcommittees will update the county on what they have accomplished and what they plan to do in the future. For information from previous Housing for All Task Force meetings or the meeting schedule, visit the Orange County Government website.


Leyton Blackwell is a photojournalist and Florida National News contributor. |

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Opening Biopic ‘Te Ata’ Sets High Bar for 2016 Orlando Film Festival



ORLANDO: Chickasaw Nation Biopic 'Te Ata' Sets Stage for Orlando Film Festival.

ORLANDO (FNN NEWS) – Orlando Film Festival kicked off at Cobb Theaters in Downtown Orlando Wednesday night. The red carpet came alive with excited filmmakers and actors ready to showcase their projects to the Orlando community and, in some cases, to the world at large, including Nathan Frankowski, director of this year’s opening feature Te Ata.

About Te Ata

Frankowski’s biopic feature chronicles the true story of Chickasaw actress and storyteller Mary Frances Thompson, whose love of stories and the Chickasaw Nation fueled her to share the Chickasaw culture with new audiences in the early 1900s, a time when the United States was still growing as a nation and clashed with Native American peoples in the process.

Viewers are immediately swept into the saga from the film’s opening scene with a voice-over folk tale told by Mary Thompson’s father, T.B. Thompson (played by Gil Birmingham). Ironically, though his storytelling places the seed of inspiration in her, it slowly becomes a source of friction between them as she ages.

What makes the film engrossing is the sprawling backdrop upon which Thompson’s journey takes place. While young Te Ata (which means “The Morning”) flourishes with each solo performance and eventually sets her sights on Broadway, the Chickasaw Nation is fighting to secure the funding due them from the U.S. government in the face of ethnocentrism and religious bigotry–to the point that the government passed a law forbidding the sale of traditional Native American textiles and creations, which caused further financial struggle for the Chickasaw Nation. Viewers even experience the Thompsons’ fish-out-of-water feeling as the Chickasaw people’s territory, Tishomingo, shrinks significantly to become part of the newborn state of Oklahoma.

The political tensions are counterbalanced with Te Ata’s experience. Te Ata does her first performances among family, but chooses to leave home for the first time in her life to attend the Oklahoma College for Women (known today as University of Science and Arts of Oklahoma), despite her father’s wishes for her to find a job at home. Viewers immediately empathize with Te Ata’s awkward experience upon her arrival at the predominantly Caucasian-attended College, but cheer her on when that one connection is made, because all it ever takes is one.

Te Ata’s jumping off point occurs when she meets drama teacher Frances Dinsmore Davis, who encourages her to join her class and to share the Chickasaw stories for her senior presentation instead of the usual Shakespeare recitation. From there, Te Ata’s career blossoms from one serendipitous connection to another, taking her performances across the country. She eventually makes it to New York City, hustling to find her place on Broadway, and finds love in the process while performing privately for Eleanor Roosevelt, whose husband was then Governor of New York. The heroine’s journey continues with well-placed highs and lows, keeping the viewer visually and emotionally engaged.

Te Ata is touchingly channeled through lead actress Q’orianka Kilcher who, like Te Ata, has stage experience, and brought it to bear in the role. Kilcher’s magnetic singing, with the help of the film’s sweeping score and indigenous songs, imprints the true Te Ata’s passion for her people onto the viewer’s heart.

Frankowski, who worked closely with the Chickasaw Nation in creating the film, honors Te Ata’s memory and legacy in a cohesive, sweeping tale that will edify audiences everywhere.



Florida National News Editor Mellissa Thomas is an author and journalist, as well as a decorated U.S. Navy veteran with degrees in Entertainment Business and Film. She also helps business owners, CEOs, executives, and speakers double their income and clinch the credibility they deserve by walking them step by step through the process of developing, completing, marketing, and publishing their first book.

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