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Nathan Ross Freeman’s Mr. Bones
Indy Feature Film Screened at the
15th Annual Black Harvest International Festival of Film and Video
Monday, August 24 @ 8:15pm & Thursday, August 27 @ 6:00pm
The Gene Siskel Film Center - 164 N. State Street - Chicago, IL

Chicago, IL

The Gene Siskel Film Center welcomes you to the 15th anniversary edition of the Black Harvest International Festival of Film and Video (, from August 7 though September 3.  Talent shines brightly through all four weeks of this unique celebration of the black experience on film.  We put the spotlight on our own Chicago filmmakers as we continue to highlight adventurous new work from around the nation and around the world. Our 2009 festival offers a wealth of films for every interest and taste.  In this year of hope, many filmmakers have addressed the subjects of regeneration, renewal, and the building of a future in diverse ways.

**** Producer/Director Nathan Ross Freeman and Producer/Actor Don W. Newton will be present
on Monday August 24th @ 8:15pm for audience discussion after screening.

Nathan Ross Freeman, USA, 112 min
Meet Nathan Ross Freeman in person!
Monday, 8/24/09 @ 8:15pm and Thursday, 8/27/09 @ 6:00pm

With Debra Terry, Jeryl Prescott, Mabel Robinson, and John Poindexter;
featuring Don W. Newton, Johnnie “Blue” Gardner.

Part coming-of-age story, part ghost story, MR. BONES chronicles the turbulent friendship of “the three Ds”, Devin, Dionne, and Dominique, uniquely bonded through a tragedy. A macabre discovery in the woods becomes their solace and secret through childhood years, and the focus of a dark mystery involving an entire community when the three return as adults with unrealized ambitions and unresolved anger. MR. BONES features an ensemble cast from the Winston-Salem Youth Arts Institute ( Please and ), and is the recent winner of Best Feature at the Philadelphia International Film Festival. DigiBeta video. (BS)

5 questions for Nathan Ross Freeman>>

Playwright, Director Picks Team to Shoot Film>>



New York, NY (July 2, 2008) – The 2008 NEWFILMMAKERS New York Film Festival (NFMFF) opens July, 2 and continues weekly through September, 24. MR. BONES, an award winning feature-length film written and directed by Nathan Ross Freeman, will screen at the NFMFF Tuesday July, 29 at 8:00pm. All NFMFF screenings are held at the Anthology Film Archives Theater (Lower Eastside), at 32 Second Ave. and 2nd Street.  Admission is $5 admission for the entire evening of screenings.

Nathan Ross Freeman, author and educator from Winston-Salem, North Carolina, marks his feature film directorial debut with MR. BONES - Starring Debra Terry, Jeryl Prescott, Mabel Robinson, John Poindexter, Don W. Newton and Johnnie “Blue” Gardner. MR. BONES also features an ensemble cast of young actors from Freeman’s landmark arts program, The Winston-Salem Youth Arts Institute ( Filmed over three years, MR. BONES presents a stirring tableau of the modern African American experience.

The film begins with a tragedy that threatens to destroy the childhoods of three young survivors; that is until they find an unlikely friend and confident in the shallow grave of a long lost child. When adulthood and happenstance bring them back together, we learn how this shared experience continues to play itself out in the lives of the three D’s – Dominique, Devin and Dionne.

"The story explores how friendships are galvanized by events either tragic or euphoric," says Nathan Ross Freeman, the films director. “It celebrates the strength and the frailty of all relationships, reminds us to take nothing and no one for granted, and very gently teaches us to be thankful for what we have.”

MR. BONES won “Best Feature Film” at the 2008 Sweet Auburn International Film Festival in Atlanta, GA, and "Best Drama, Best Edit, Best Scoring at the
Southern Appalachian International Film Festival. The film’s sound track explores contemporary and classic R&B, gospel, new age, world beat, new classical, hip hop and alternative.

MR. BONES was also screened this year at the Black Diaspora and Cackalacky Film Festivals. In 2007, MR. BONES was honored as an official selection in four film festivals: The San Francisco Black Film Festival, The National Black Theater Festival Film Series, The Southern Appalachian International Film Festival and The Indie Memphis Film Festival. The film’s sound track explores contemporary and classic R&B, gospel, new age, world beat, new classical, hip hop and alternative, and won the film “Best Score” at the Southern Appalachian International Film Festival, where it was also honored for “Best Editing” and “Best Drama.”

5 Questions With Nathan Ross Freeman

Go Triad
August 5, 2004
By Kevin Harvey, Staff Writer

WINSTON-SALEM — With the Oscar-winning success of "Two Soldiers" and Jon Bon Jovi's appearance for the filming of "The Trouble with Frank," the Triad has recently become quite the hot spot in the filmmaking industry. And now, Nathan Ross Freeman, a Winston-Salem playwright and theater educator, hopes to be the next director with a film shot in the Triad. Freeman's script, "Mr. Bones," is based on a short story Freeman co-wrote with Debra Terry, actor and co-host of "Greensboro ConnecTV" on Channel 13. In 1997, Freeman received the Playwrights' Fellowship for his play "Hannah Elias." He also founded Winston-Salem's Montage Showcase Ensemble and teaches playwriting at UNC-Charlotte. He's interested in seeing how theater can change laws and bring communities together. His motto: "Theater for life, film for fiction." Why? Read on.

1. What's the movie about?

"Mr. Bones" is about three youths, the Three D's: Dominique, Dionne and Devin, who each, on their way to a church retreat, lose one or both of their parents. While playing in a park, they find human remains, a skull, forearm and a hand. Instead of running away or telling the police, they build a shrine. It's basically a totem that serves as an outlet for their grief. They come on their birthdays, they bring their report cards. Then, moving forward 30 years, Devin goes to see Mr. Bones and discovers that Mr. Bones is gone. Then we get into the forensics. It's a mystery, a thriller, it's family, it's comedy, it's a generational piece.

2. How does the film relate to the Triad?

We boast that it's a Triad event. The tunnel scene was shot at Reynolds High School . The street scenes will be shot at some of the festivals downtown. We got a lot of our principles from the Triad. All of our production people are residents of the Triad.

3. What was it like working with younger actors?

We're very excited about being able to put youth in the forefront of a major film. The first half hour is all Dionne, Dominique and Devin as children, and then there are constant flashbacks to them. I like to think that we'll have three child stars out of this. The depth of character and emotion we required took a certain technique and range. We're confident that anyone involved in film production will be interested in them.

4. Is making a movie much different from writing a play?

Writing a play is as much a literary experience as it is an audio-visual experience because it focuses on the playwright. In screenplay and film, it starts from a team effort. Even when I was writing the screenplay, there was constant consultation. I was writing for Debra Terry. There are locations involved, you have to be more explicit in terms of location.

5. Why is your motto "theater for life, film for fiction"?

My drive is to capture relevant issues onstage. The reason why I say "film for fiction" is because that's where I get release as a creative writer. It offers me a chance to fictionalize facts. Because of the authenticity of film, I can take my fiction and give it the impact of reality and actuality that film gives you room to. I can go 20 centuries into the future with film and look at it like it's reality today.


Playwright, Director Picks Team to Shoot Film

Winston-Salem Journal
March 25, 2004
By Mark Burger, Relish Staff Writer

WINSTON-SALEM — When Two Soldiers won the Academy Award as best live-action short last month, Nathan Ross Freeman saw it as a happy omen. Here was a low-budget film, shot entirely in North Carolina , winning an Oscar.

Freeman, the founder of the Montage Showcase Ensemble and a noted playwright and stage director, had his own plans for making a feature film in the state.

His movie, Mr. Bones, will be shot in Winston-Salem . The story focuses on three childhood friends brought together when a wreck kills one or both of each child's parents. Later, while playing in a neighborhood park, they find a human skull and human bones that they christen "Mr. Bones" and build a shrine to. Mr. Bones represents a constant adult figure in their lives - a tangible, imaginary friend.

The children eventually grow into adulthood, but when one of them returns to their childhood shrine, he discovers that their innocent childhood discovery may have obscured a deeper, darker secret about which they know nothing. The friends reunite to put their past to rest and to learn the truth about Mr. Bones.

Freeman said that the story is a little bit of everything - drama, comedy, thriller, love story, mystery - but at its heart is a fable about the power of love and friendship.

"The story explores how friendships are galvanized by events either tragic or euphoric," Freeman said. "It's about savoring our relationships. It celebrates the strength and the frailty of all relationships. It's a 'people picture.'"

Freeman believes that aspects of the story "reflect the sensibilities of American society at present," he said. "Since 9/11 and the war in Iraq , we don't take life or our friends for granted. I think we've become a more humanistic society as a whole. This story is about savoring all of our love relationships, taking nothing - or no one - for granted, and very gently teaching us to be thankful for what we have."

Freeman has his creative team in place - including writer/star Debra Terry, cinematographer/editor Frank Eaton and line producer Steven Jones - but is still looking for investors. He estimates that the film can be completed for less than $200,000.

The team hopes to shoot the film in late spring or early summer and to complete production before the end of the year.

From there, the team plans to submit the finished film to national and international film festivals (including, possibly, next year's RiverRun International Film Festival in Winston-Salem ).

Initially, Freeman intended to work only as a writer and producer on the project; he said that others persuaded him to direct it.

"It will be a learning experience for me," he said, laughing, "and I'll have no problem delegating authority to those who know more (about filmmaking) than I do. That's part of our plan - bringing in other artists to share in the vision. As a director, you insist on what you must have, and give up the rest to those who have more experience."

Although Mr. Bones will be a low-budget project, "we'd love to have the city behind us as much as possible," Freeman said. "We want to celebrate the community; this film is as much theirs as it is ours....

"Making a film under any circumstance is a miracle, and making a quality film is even more of a miracle. It is a challenge, but that's the nature of the business."

2007 Mr. Bones, LLC in Association with The Winston-Salem Youth Arts Institute
now known as
Authoring Action -