FROM BLACK PREMIERE: Movie creators praise Natchez at first screening of horror film

Published 12:10 pm Saturday, April 15, 2023

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NATCHEZ — Roughly 100 people cozied up with popcorn and some of the cast members inside the Natchez Civic Center on Friday evening to watch the premiere of a Natchez-filmed horror movie, “From Black.”

The Darkroom Films production is executive produced by Kelly Frazier and written and directed by Thomas Marchese. It stars Pitch Perfect’s Anna Camp,  actor and producer John Ales, Jennifer Lafleur and young rising star Eduardo Campirano III — also known as Trey.

The film also stars Natchez’s-own Ritchie Montgomery as the villainous kidnapper who snatches up the child victim Noah (Campirano).

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The movie will be available to watch on April 28 on AMC+ and Shudder.

Watch the trailer below.

From Black combines both supernatural and real-world crime for an overall captivating story about how far a guilt-driven drug addict and young mother, Cora (Camp), is willing to go to see her lost son again.

After the film, attendees joined in a Q&A with the cast members and director, during which one audience member said, “I don’t typically watch horror films, but I couldn’t take my eyes away.”

Directors and producers did not shy away from showing the faces of locals as cast members when filming at Natchez locations such as the Margaret Martin gymnasium, Bluff City bowling alley and Anna’s Bottom. The audience applauded as they quickly recognized up-close shots of familiar faces in some scenes.

“As you all know, Natchez is quickly becoming the movie capital of the south and that is thanks to a whole lot of folks — namely the folks in this room, the Natchez community,” said Visit Natchez Executive Director Devin Heath. “The Natchez community really makes this work. … Constantly, the Visit Natchez Natchez Film Office team and the Mississippi Film Office are always out promoting how wonderful Natchez is and kind of sold the dream, but it’s our community that really makes that dream a reality.”

Heath said he, Frazier and Marchese became fast friends.

Marchese said they went all over Mississippi looking for the right spot for filming.

“In several of those places, we heard, ‘We’d love for you to bring the movie here, but you’re going to get to Natchez and fall in love with Natchez,'” Marchese said. “What happened? We got to Natchez and we fell in love with Natchez. Everything here is so different than Los Angeles. That Southern hospitality thing is real. It’s been absolutely unbelievable.”

Frazier echoed his praise of Natchez.

“It’s fun to look out and see the people we’ve met along the way and the genuine friends we’ve made while we were here. We’re grateful to you guys for opening your arms to us and making us feel at home. It’s not always fun to make movies, but it was really fun here. We’re all looking at real estate because we all want to move here now,” she said.