Trailer: Writer/Director Jessica Rae’s Debut Feature RAISE YOUR HAND Screens at Three Film Festivals in October

(Info from press release)

Writer/Director Jessica Rae’s Debut Feature RAISE YOUR HAND Screens at La Femme International Film Festival (October 14-17), Seattle Latino Film Festival (October 11-17) and 25th American Black Film Festival (November 3-28)

RAISE YOUR HAND, writer/director Jessica Rae’s 1990s coming-of-age drama about high schoolers in the Midwest, will screen at three upcoming festivals: La Femme International Film Festival, Saturday October 16 at 4:00PM at the Regal Cinemas Auditorium 13 (and digitally); the Seattle Latino Film Festival and the all-virtual American Black Film Festival (ABFF). As a life-long writer, Rae’s directorial debut film was inspired by her real-life experiences growing up as a multiracial woman of color in Minneapolis, fighting to find her voice in the face of traumas such as sexual assault, police brutality, and financial struggle. “I made the decision to take a personal risk and share my story,” says Rae, “because I didn’t want those precious and painful biographical memories to be told without the honesty and truth they deserve.”

RAISE YOUR HAND follows best friends Gia (Jearnest Corchado, Sneakerheads, Little America, The Fosters, The Blacklist) and Lila (Hanani Taylor, Criminal Minds, Punky Brewster) as they balance school and personal connections with their family, friends, boys and neighborhood, including the corrupt local police. Gia struggles to maintain her grades and sort through a tumultuous relationship with her mother and stepfather. She attempts to find solace in a relationship with a new boyfriend, Wish, and invest in her writing. Very quickly, however, all of Gia’s relationships go through dramatic, sometimes traumatic, changes, and Gia and Lila find themselves in their own separate fights for both meaning and survival.

Important allies, school counselor Amaris and teacher Ms. Ramsey, come to their aid. With them, Gia is encouraged to write a play about her life, and she soon finds herself bringing her fellow students, and their experiences, together in what becomes a testament to their perseverance and the power of story.

With years of experience in film (SPACE JAM 2, STAR TREK INTO DARKNESS) and television (True Blood, American Horror Story, Bosch, Get Shorty), Rae understands the impact storytelling can have by starting difficult conversations. Having crafted a dedicated and diverse cast and crew, with mostly women in leading roles, Rae is excited to screen at festivals whose mission reflects her own, as La Femme centers on films “by women, for everyone;” Seattle supports the magic of film-making as part of Hispanic culture globally; and ABFF showcases and discovers Black talent and new creative voices. “As the cast and crew joined together to make the film, they began sharing their own personal connections with the material,” details Rae, “their stories of assault, of family struggles, of confrontations with the police.”

Addressing real social issues of racial justice, feminism, and classism, RAISE YOUR HAND encourages young people to use their voices to speak out about causes they feel passionate about, and inspire others to do the same.

About La Femme International Film Festival 
La Femme has supported woman-created media, productions and filmmakers for global audiences for the past 17 years. La Femme is a hybrid virtual/in-person festival with online and physical screenings, seminars, panels, and events in downtown Los Angeles. Ticketing options are available here, with tickets for the screening of RAISE YOUR HAND available here.

About Seattle Latino Film Festival 
Seattle Latino Film Festival was founded in 2009 by Cuban immigrant Jorge Enrique Gonzalez Pacheco. Jorge had a vision to create a film festival in Seattle for Latino artists and filmmakers. The Seattle Latino Film Festival is the only one of its kind in the entire Northwest of the United States. Although the organization operates under budget, the staff are passionate about the films that the festival presents, and are grateful to the film industry for supporting this organization. Full digital schedule to follow, more info here.

About American Black Film Festival 
Miami-based ABFF is celebrating its 25th anniversary, with a free global online program. ABFF will host virtual events (including an HBO-sponsored short film competition) and screenings, with categories for narrative and documentary features, web series, LGBTQIA stories, international films and new voices. Full schedule is coming soon, register now to watch digitally here.

Unabridged Films Presents: RAISE YOUR HAND
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