The Northeast Texas Community College Honors Program will premiere its latest original film Pressed but not Crushed; the UT Saga of Barbara Conrad on Friday, Feb. 8 at 7 p.m. in the Whatley Center for the Performing Arts. Admission is free and refreshments will be served. There will be a discussion after the film, led by the actors and other students involved in the film.
The film is set in the mid 1950s during Conrad’s freshman year at the University of Texas. A native of Northeast Texas, she becomes part of the first cohort of American-American undergraduates at UT. An outstanding soprano singer, Conrad earned the leading female role in the spring opera. The film will follow the drama that arises when Joe Chapman, a Texas State Representative from Sulphur Springs, learns that Conrad has been cast opposite a white male student.
This will be the seventh year in a row that Honors Northeast and NTCC’s Webb Society will present its own feature-length film on a regional legend. Past films have included the stories of Mary Kay, the Texas Cherokee, Ma and Pa Ferguson, Harriet Potter Ames, Wright Patman, and Morris Sheppard.
This year’s film was produced by Miguel Paco, a Presidential Scholar of Honors Northeast, majoring in Physics, from Mount Pleasant. Jordan Whelchel, a sophomore, served as the film’s director. Jacob Lambie, a freshman from Scroggins, served as the Unit Production Director and Film Scholar. The lead role of Barbara Conrad is played by Mary Lloyd of Pittsburg.
“There are two fascinating aspects of the research behind this story that this film will depict,” Dr. Andrew Yox, Honors Director, said. “First we will get to know a dazzling international opera star from our region as played by Mary Lloyd whose civil rights narrative was distinctive. Secondly, the film will allow us to peer inside the administration of the University of Texas. Using documents at the Dolph Briscoe last summer, we will see a phenomenon, not unknown in our own time, of leaders who disclaim racist intent still acting in a discriminatory manner.”
The cast of the film also includes: Courtney Baldwin from Mount Vernon as Jerrie Lee Smith; Alexis Porter from Daingerfield as Connie Smith; Tyrese Rhymes from Pittsburg as Conrad Smith; Verania Leyva-Garcia from Mount Pleasant as Cindy Chavez, Conrad’s roommate; Jacob Lambie as UT President Logan Wilson; Karla Fuentes as Conrad’s teacher, Edra Gustafson; Hannah Dickson as Joann Thompson, President of the University Religious Council; Mercedes Collins of Daingerfield as Carol Cold, and Mr. H.E. Howard; Peyton McClendon as the girl who was co-casted for the role of Dido, Martha Ann Kelly; Rhylie Anderson as Student Council President, Maurie Suttle; Matthew Chambers as Dean Arno Nowotny; Jordan Whelchel as John Silber; Daniel Landaverde of Mount Pleasant as Dean H.Y. McCown; Serenity Mitchell as Ticket Taker; and Dr. Andrew Yox as Regents Chair, Tom Sealy, and Northeast Texas Representative, Joe Chapman.
Two sophomore Presidential Scholars led the cinematography, Matthew Chambers, of Mount Pleasant, and Rhylie Anderson, of Winnsboro. Karla Fuentes of Winnsboro served as Director of Audiography, upgrading the system for the first time with the use of a recorder. Hannah Dickson of Pittsburg served as Director of Costumes, Peyton McClendon of Mount Pleasant as Makeup Director, and Karla Fuentes as Director of Props.
The Honors Northeast Film Series has received much support over the years from Jerald and Mary Lou Mowery and other friends of the program. Each year the scholars of Honors Northeast have researched the story, produced a script, and overcome technical challenges involved in a one-hour film production.
To learn more about this and previous Honors Films, visit www.ntcc.edu/honors.