As long as there’s breath there is a chance for recovery…redemption,” said Shuaib Mitchell, the director and inspiration behind Nocturnal Agony, a new ; film slated to premiere in Baltimore Feb. 15 at the Gilliam Concert Hall of the Murphy Fine Arts Center on the campus of Morgan State University.
Loosely based on personal events from Mitchell’s first marriage, the story is set to reach hundreds of thousands of people connected to or suffering from mental illness. The message of redemption from the stage play-turned-feature film “will cause the audiences to rethink mental health rethink taboos in the community,” said Bridgette Nash Hodges, publicity/marketing consultant for the play and media co-chair.
Nocturnal Agony uncovers mental illness, pain, secrets and suffering in a family that seemed to be perfectly put together. It also highlights the role of the community in dealing with such underlying realities.
This movie will “bring the community to action,” Mitchell said. “In reality people are suffering.”
The audience will be able to connect with celebrity actors, such as Lawrence Hilton-Jacobs from Cooley High and Vernee Watson-Johnson from “The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air;” gospel artists Hezekiah Walker, Morgan State graduate Malachi Malik and many other familiar faces to understand that there is hope. With the showing of the film the audience will be able to see the issue and understand that there is a problem and there is also a solution, promoters say.
Nocturnal Agony has screened in Washington, D.C, Los Angeles and Atlanta and is on its way to Baltimore. Mitchell and the producers have partnered with The Baltimore Alumnae Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority to present this feature film to the community.
The local sorority’s involvement reflects an initiative of the national Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, which has partnered with the National Institute of Health to shed light on mental health issues.
“Nocturnal Agony is a progression from acting out affected relationships to openness, healing and forgiveness in spite of…To fit in abuse, substance abuse, imbalance in mental thinking, clarity, assistance from outside and then come in for forgiveness,” said Monica Watkins, president of the Baltimore Alumnae Chapter. After viewing the movie, Watkins added, she understood “there is healing and there is an opportunity to see forgiveness in yourself and in others.”
The Baltimore red carpet premiere will be held at 6 p.m. on Feb. 15 and is created to give the feeling of a “Hollywood premiere.” There will be appearances from gospel artist Hezekiah Walker, actor Lawrence Hilton-Jacobs and other celebrity members of the cast. Guests will be allowed to meet and greet the celebrity cast and take pictures at 4:30 p.m. on the day of the event. Mitchell, the director, also will be in attendance and an expert panel of health professionals and clergy will be available for a question-and-answer session directly following the movie.
All are invited to attend this open-seating event. Tickets are $25 and can be purchased at the Murphy Fine Arts Center Box Office, 10 a.m.-8 p.m., Monday-Friday; and 10 a.m.-4 p.m. on Saturday.