*Aunjanue Ellis is going places. After receiving an Oscar nomination for her role in “King Richard,” which is a high-flying classic biopic about Venus and Serena Williams’ father (Richard Williams), she is again in the limelight.
This time it is about her star role in the short film “FANNIE” in which she plays civil rights pioneer, Fannie Lou Hamer.
She has just scooped the Best Actress Award at the 13th Annual BronzeLens Film Festival in Atlanta for her role in this live-action short film.
The film traces the life of Hamer, from being raised by a poor family of Mississippi sharecroppers to her times as a Civil Rights pioneer when she fearlessly fought for Black people to have voting rights, according to UrbanHolywood411.
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Hamer was arrested in June 1963 together with other women after they attended a voter registration workshop. History accounts record that Hamer and the other women were rudely pulled off a bus, taken into custody, and beaten thoroughly. Some of the women were left with permanent injuries.
One of the scenes has Hamer (Ellis) narrating the torture she underwent in police custody.
“They took me to county jail, where they placed me in a cell. I began to hear the sounds of licks and screams,” she describes, in heart-wrenching detail. She then says she was transferred to a cell with “two Negro prisoners.”
The Negroes had been ordered by a state highway patrolman to attack her.
“I was beat by the first Negro prisoner until he was exhausted. I began to scream and then a white man came over and beat me in the head and told me to hush,” she says.
The film’s director is Christine Swanson, with Swanson and Ellis as the producers. The executive producers are Stephanie Frederic, Angela Harmon, Abeni Bloodworth, and Emil Pinnock.
FANNIE will run theatrically at the Laemmle’s Monica Film Center Shorts By the Sea film series in Santa Monica, California, on September 23-29, 2022.