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Script by Preeshl picked as finalist for narrative feature grant

"Désirée’s Baby," a film to be directed by Artemis Preeshl, has been selected as a finalist for #CreateLouisiana's Narrative Feature grant.

#CreateLouisiana selected "Désirée’s Baby," a script to be directed by Assistant Professor of Performing Arts Artemis Preeshl, as one of five finalists in the #CreateLouisiana Narrative Feature competition.

"Désirée’s Baby" reflects the complicated intersections of race, class, and gender that continue to affect our culture. When Armand Aubigny, a wealthy antebellum plantation owner, and his foundling wife have a "black" son, he blames her. 

After his cruel rejection, Désirée drowns herself and their child in a nearby bayou. As he burns Désirée’s clothes and letters and their son’s cradle, Armand discovers a letter from his mother to his father revealing that his mother—not his wife--was black and enslaved. “Désirée’s Baby” allows for the re-examination of the marginalization of persons of mixed race and the complexities of racial identity, including such questions as:

  • Who was permitted to be considered black, white or Creole?
  • Under which circumstances?
  • What were the consequences for misidentification?

The contexts of "Désirée’s Baby" highlight these conflicts. Kate Chopin’s family supported the Confederacy and Oscar, her husband, was active in New Orleans' post-war White League. The group's violent resistance to integrated government in 1874 was memorialized in the monument to the “Battle of Liberty Place” (erected 1891) — long a symbol of white supremacist rule. 

Race, gender, and class underlie the struggles that wracked the post-war decades, the era when Kate Chopin was writing. The “Liberty” monument, honoring these discredited Confederate beliefs, was the first monument to be taken down in New Orleans in 2017.

As 19-century writer Jean-Baptiste Karr once noted, Plus ça change, plus c'est la même chose: “The more things change, the more things stay the same.” Will we learn from the past? When we examine the effects of white supremacy in individual lives, when we remember our collective history and its consequences, we dismantle institutionalized racism and sexism and thus change our social destiny.

Ripe Figs is an all-female corporation dedicated to bringing Kate Chopin’s incisive short stories to the screen. Rachel Grissom has adapted Kate Chopin’s story, "Desiree’s Baby," as a first narrative feature. 

 

Artemis Preeshl,
Staff
11/29/2017 7:45 AM