Holiday 99:Ozzie and the Heretic

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By Booker T. Mattison
Written and Directed by: Caran Hartsfield
Produced by: Sherri Thompson
Dir. of Photography: Wolf Baschung
Edited by: Seith Mann & Caran Hartsfield
Cast: Dana Miller, Ty Jones, Marilyn Anderson, Jamal Ferguson Jr.

Ozzie and the Heretic - GOD, Patriotism, and the 4th of July

Ozzie and the Heretic is a film that deliciously explores the relationship between GOD, patriotism, the 4th of July, and the film's main character, Esther. Often misunderstood, Esther must navigate the precarious minefields of family, the community, and answering nature's call.

If you don't mind laughing out loud in the theater, you will enjoy this film, which is a fun and provocative look at how individuality can sometimes get you into trouble.


The film is dedicated to NBA player Mahmood Abdul-Raouf, and Tisha Byers, a student from Connecticut, who were both persecuted for not standing for the pledge of allegiance. Esther finds herself in a similar situation one 4th of July at a memorial service for her father who served in the Marine Corps. Her brother Ozzie is cut from the same cloth--uncompromisingly patriotic, and tough as nails. At the service, he is the most offended by her departure but he never stops to ask why she leaves. The tension increases as the entire neighborhood gets in on questioning why she has become so rebellious. Is it her life in New York? Is she a communist? You'll have to see the film to find out.


Director Caran Hartsfield (See Gallery) has a knack for interweaving dramatic situations with comic relief. Her greatest gift, however, is making the various nuances of the black ethos accessible to all people. I had the fortunate experience of viewing the film at the DGA in New York with a multi-racial audience and everyone was in stitches. I look forward to purchasing my ticket to her first feature at the multiplex.


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