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Tuesday, July 18, 2023

Black Writer Leaves Job of 31 Years to Become a Filmmaker and Lands a Spot at the Black Comedy Fest on Martha’s Vineyard

Jil Ross

Nationwide — Stepping out on faith, Jil Ross, a Chicago-based writer left her job of 31 years to begin a new career as filmmaker, and now, her family comedy, B.A.D.D. has landed a spot at this year’s Black Comedy Fest on Martha’s Vineyard. Ross wrote, directed and produced the film.

This movie was selected because Steve Capers, the Managing Partner of M.V.C.F., wanted to highlight a woman filmmaker. Adding this ‘family element’ to the comedy fest coincides with the Vineyard crowd.

Ross, who is also the founder of Minor Major Entertainment, will be on hand for the event on Friday, August 11, at noon at the Strand Theatre, 11 Oak Bluffs, MA. Jil will take part in a Q & A immediately following. The film is adapted from one of the installments of the Shenanigans Series of tween chapter books, also coined by Ross in 2003. The general theme of the book series is moral-based comedies that shine a light on serious issues.

B.A.D.D. tells the story of Foster Blake and how his world is turned upside down when a bully transfers to his school; Foster must learn to fight (literally) to save himself and his school. The film was shot over twelve days in Chicago during the summer of 2022.

The feature is full of action, antics, and laughter. It stars Treycen Bownes, Mariah Bozeman and introduces Wren Mulchrone as the Bully.

Treycen Bownes previously starred in the Chi-nanigans web series episode entitled ‘Old Friends’. Treycen is a star athlete, gifted in both sports and acting.

Mariah Bozeman has been seen in several national commercials, in the Chi-nanigans web episodes of ‘Old Friends’, ‘Paper Chase’, and ‘Southpaw’ and the film, The Woman in the Window and on the TV show, Chicago Med.

This is Wren Mulchrone‘s acting debut, who was awarded the part after sitting in and reading for the actor who’d been designated the role. Wren nailed it and had everyone in stitches.

As a build-up to the feature, book installments were released as short films, currently airing on YouTube, as Chi-nangans web series. The series has won over nine short film awards. The screenplay for B.A.D.D. won the third pass for the Austin Film Festivals Scholastic Family Comedy. Ross also won the third pass for an adult comedy series that she and Kali Patrice wrote for the B.E.T. Cre8 contest in 2020.

Ross’ past credits include producing the Chi-nanigans web series, publishing six installments as part of her Shenanigans Series of books and having several plays produced by the Black Ensemble Theater. She is a member of Chicago’s Independent Film Alliance (I.F.A.), The Black Ensemble Theater’s Black Playwrights Intuitive (B.P.I.) and conceptualized and produced the Chicago Read-In for W.V.O.N. Radio. Ross is a trustee at Mother McAuley Liberal Arts H.S.

In 2017, Ross listened to a voice in her head to focus on filmmaking and decided on a whim to resign from her job of 31 years in the airline industry. Ross was accepted at the film school of the Second City, where the focus is on comedy writing. The Second City, a comedy enterprise where Jordan Peele, Sam Richardson, Keegan-Michael Key, Amber Ruffin, and Tim Meadows got their start, along with other well-knowns, such as Tina Fey, Stephen Colbert, Harold Ramis, Bill Murray, John Belushi, Dan Aykroyd, and Eugene Levy. “It was tough, I was the oldest person in the film program, after one other person dropped out because of the programs intensity – by then I had resigned from my job so there was no turning back for me,” Ross explains.

In the house where Ross grew up, “If a film my sisters and I wanted to see was based on a book, we had to read the book first.”

As a kid, Ross would sit in awe, listening to her grandparents and great-grandparents, who she describes as master storytellers. I’d listened to the inflections in their voices and watched how they held a cigarette, dipped snuff, or threw back a swig from their flask, how the timing of all those actions helped them to tell a better story. I found it fascinating. Ross is confident that this planted her desire to tell stories, and it’s only grown from there.

Ross holds a B.A. in Psychology earned an M.A. at The University of Illinois at Chicago in Educational Philosophy and holds a Type 04 Certification, which she says has been very helpful in writing youth content. One of her screenwriting teachers told her to be relentless, and she hasn’t looked back.

Be sure to follow the Chi-nanigans web series at its official web site at Chi-nanigans.com

Also, follow the series on YouTube, Instagram, and Facebook.

For press inquiries, contact 773-562-8223 or jil@minormajorent.com