Janice, tell us a little about yourself and your work.
I am Janice L. Dennie. I write my own line of romance novels and produce them into Independent films through my company, Kente Publications & Productions LLC. My first film is “The Underwoods of Napa Valley,” based on Kenton’s Vintage Affair, the first novel in “The Underwoods of Napa Valley” series.
What inspired you to write The Underwoods of Napa Valley novels?
JLD: I wrote the books after I discovered a black winery in Napa Valley. I lived in the city next to Napa Valley for years and never knew black wineries existed until I heard of Bates Winery, owned by Dr. Earnest Bates and his partner. I wondered how a black wine producing family lived. The only TV show I had ever seen about a winery was Falcon Crest back in the 1980’s, so I invented the Underwood family.
The Underwoods of Napa Valley is a rags to riches story about eighty-three year old Henrietta Underwood and her grandchildren. Henrietta, and her deceased husband Frank, worked as Sharecroppers growing corn and cotton in Waco, Texas before they came to California during the Great Migration in the fifties. They purchased land when it was dirt cheap in Napa and grew basic produce. They became overnight millionaires when the value of their land shot up in the eighties and they switched to growing grapes and started Underwood Hills Winery. Henrietta has only one goal in life these days, and that is to marry all of her grandchildren to loving spouses before she dies.
What inspired you to make The Underwood’s of Napa Valley a feature-length film?
My mother who always told me that you can do anything you want, if you put your mind to it, and the great, Madam C.J. Walker who said, “Don’t wait for opportunities to come your way, create them yourself.” Both women inspired me to believe in myself, so I started my own film company with plans to make all of my books into films or a television/web series.
Where did you find financing for the film production?
I used the proceeds from my book sales to finance most of the film along with personal investments and a few small investors.
What did you enjoy most about making this film?
I’m a hands on person. I enjoyed writing the screenplay, selecting the actors and film crew. They are like family to me now. With the advances in technology, anyone can make a movie these days even with a cell phone. I just believed I could do it, and I did it.
When will The Underwood’s of Napa Valley is a feature-length film be released?
JLD: February 1, 2018 during Black History month. I wanted to release it then because I want people to know this is the first film ever made about a Black winery located in Napa Valley.
My UNV short film has been accepted into the SUNDANCE Film Festival. You can see it there January 18-28, 2018, in Park City, Utah. It has been accepted into other film festivals that you can find on my website: http://www.theunderwoodsofnapavalley.com
You can view trailers and the feature length film online at Vimeo.com, Amazon.com or purchase the DVD from Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Ebay or http://www.TheUnderwoodsofNapaValley.com
THE UNDERWOODS OF NAPA VALLEY – THE OFFICIAL SITE
More about Janice L. Dennie, Writer & Filmmaker
Janice L. Dennie is an Amazon.com Bestselling Author and Indie Filmmaker.
Mrs. Dennie’s Underwoods of Napa Valley series, have readers reaching for her books time and again as she delivers entertaining stories featuring tall, dark, handsome heroes and feisty heroines.
Mrs. Dennie has thrown her hat into the film industry by making The Underwoods of Napa Valley into a feature-length Indie film.
Born in Denver, Colorado and raised in Northern California, Ms. Dennie graduated from California State University, before starting a career with a Federal Agency. Mrs. Dennie regularly posts film updates on JaniceDennie.com and TheUnderwoodsofNapaValley.com.
She posts release dates for new books on Facebook: @janicedennieauthor and Twitter: @jdennieauthor. She’d love to hear from you and will reply to any email sent to her at email@example.com.
REPRINTED WITH PERMISSION FROM BLACK PEARLS MAGAZINE.