By Josh Troy
MVP3 Entertainment Group, out of Memphis, is producing four films, and two of them have connections to Clarksdale. One of the local films, Hillbilly Bible, will showcase music artists from Nashville to Memphis to Clarksdale.The other local film, Purple Church, will be filmed in Clarksdale and dedicated to former Mayor Bill Luckett. Luckett was part owner of the film and was going to play a judge before he died. A scene will be filmed at Ground Zero Blues Club, where Luckett was a co-owner.
“There’s going to be two movies that make their way to Clarksdale and they’re both faith-based,” said Marie Pizano, owner of MVP3 Entertainment Group. MVP3 Entertainment Group will also be producing a documentary about Civil Rights icon Walter Bailey from Memphis. A Society in Crisis: A Family in Divide is another documentary MVP3 Entertainment Group is producing and talks about a new law spearheading redefining how divorces are handled to reduce Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACES) trauma on children.
Pizano is reinstating the MVP3 Foundation, a non-profit that focuses on social justice and job creation programs. She said one of her missions is to partner with other non-profits on films to raise awareness on social justice. Pizano also founded the MVP3 Network for streaming that will provide distribution to filmmakers, news and cooking shows, music videos and pay per view, and more. She is partnering with World Wide Radio to release new songs from her label by local artist for them to be heard all over the world.
“With all these entities coming to the table, I can finally now create that vision with all of us together to create the entertainment powerhouse right here in the south,” she said. Hillbilly Bible focuses on a young boy named Billy who dreams of becoming a superstar, finds out not all it is cracked to be, has to return to his roots, and finds a cool cat named Jesus that he could jam with. Billy will come from Memphis to Clarksdale.
“The character Billy will come to the Crossroads and he will meet a character there,” Pizano said. Billy will wind up at the Ground Zero Blues Club. Actor John Amos will play the role of a character like John the Baptist, who guides Billy. Amos’ son, KC Amos, is a film director for Hillbilly Bible. Many local and known artists will have music in the film.
“It’s a fun family friendly movie,” Pizano said. “It’ll showcase the talent we have.”
The film Purple Church is about Brother Jimmy, who loses his wife and starts to question God, goes in a downward spiral, and meets the character Ashley White, who lost her parents when she was younger.
“There’s a rape,” Pizano said. “She has to make a decision if she’s going to keep the child or not. “All these characters are broken, but at the end of the day, with God, all things are possible.”
Purple Church will have gospel music and a theme song Billy Falcon wrote. Falcon won awards with Bon Jovi, Cher, and Meat Loaf.
The COVID pandemic and unexpected issues caused the delay of the filming of Purple Church. “It was due to pandemic shutdowns, divorce matters on top of the unethical family lawyer games and those not being of integrity, funding that did not come through with our studios which all was due to issues out of my control put me into a whirlwind but yet I’m still standing and moving forward,” Pizano said.
“This is the reason for A Society in Crisis project and why that came about because I see now clearly why this whole community and our society is broken. It’s not pretty, but I’m taking my experience and instead of being bitter I’m getting better and will still rise and build what I envisioned and be an example for my children that I hope they will one day fully understand and hope they will break cycles and create change too.
“I wrote about it in my books and my hope is to empower and inspire others to make a change. We can’t get through life without being in balance with mind body and soul because it’s going to take empowering our society and changing this programming in our minds and what we chose to watch and listen while navigating though life. It’s all worth it and sharing the history and stories about others can help others too.”
Things are now moving along as planned.
“The cool thing about all this is, we’re out of the pandemic, we’re out of this,” Pizano said. “We’re finally back into moving forward on developing these projects and moving forward on production. I’m coming out of the ashes basically from getting hard hit like we all did, but in the middle of losing my studios and going through a divorce, it just opened up my eyes really to what we need to do as a community, society as a whole and especially in media. I’m about building integrity media and empowering our communities.
Press Release from Walter Bailey about documentary
The thought of having a documentary stems from reflection of my life’s momentous experiences. During my childhood development I lived through the last vestiges of legal oppressive racial segregation in the South. It was a period in which blacks were ruthlessly oppressed in a segregated system with whites being in control of the entire educational and economic establishment. It was very similar to ethnic casting systems established in other parts of the world.
My status as a professional and public leader causes me to feel compelled to provide a documentary to share how I migrated from a racial subjugated citizen of Memphis to a major civic, political and professional leader that will continue to provide mentoring and inspiration to other generations.
Being the focus of a documentary that will be produced and potentially a movie would please me enormously. I will be able to assist in sharing the historic accounts and harsh conditions experienced by people of color to chronicle movements and activities to a modern-day diametrical progressive experience in government, politics, business, education and professional fields.
This feature documentary would be consistent with my many awards and achievements ranging from, being a Memphis football student athlete, president of the law school student body at the Southern University Law Center, Induction in the Ida B. Wells it Hall of Fame. My iconic history that would be covered by the documentary includes having served on the National Board of the American Civil Liberties Union, being a weekend commentator at WMC TV station, and a weekly talk show host at WLOK radio station regarding social and political issues.
Other recognition included induction by the University of Memphis Law Center as one of his pillows of excellence, receiving the A A Latin award from the Bens Jones Chapter of the National Bar Association, recipient of the Ida B wells Memorial, Tennessee Human Rights Commission recipient, and recipient of the award for serving as the longest black Commissioner in the country by the National Association of Black County Officials, archived in the History Makers oral history of Black Americans, makers.
I also received an honorary by the city of Memphis for initiating the protest that led to the removal of confederate monuments and Park-names. Though I received no special recognition, I entered a facility with two state tax revenue agents being held hostage by two armed abductors and negotiated their freedom between them and Governor Winfield Dunn.
My historical professional recognized achievement as lawyer includes counsel in the school desegregation case, in Shelby County in the late 60s, representing the late Dr. Martin Luther King regarding an injunction hearing sought by the city of Memphis, and providing representation to 5 families who had family members killed at the hands of police authorities.
Tennessee v. Garner was one of the five cases and it went before the United States Supreme Court in which the application of deadly force against fleeing felons was ruled unconstitutional and set constitutional principles regarding the Fourth Amendment apprehension statute throughout the country.
CUTLINES: Actor John Amos, right, will be in the film Hillbilly Bible. His son, KC, left, is a director of the film. Marie Pizano’s, right, company MVP3 Entertainment Group is producing a documentary on Civil Rights icon Walter Bailey, left.