IN THE BEGINNING
It was 2006 when I was in my directorial debut of my first film I wrote and produce CAN WE BE HONEST, when I heard of Margaret Holloway from one of my producers. Honestly I have to admit, I wasn’t so sure how to show or tell a Black, homeless, schizophrenic, crack head women’s story or even more so, who would care. The more the producer who was from Connecticut herself, spoke of her, the more intrigued I became. At the time, I felt I was invincible. I had moved to New York to study acting and acted in a few plays, did voice over work and acted in several independent films. Now, along side my husband who also served as my executive producing partner, I had it all. I moved from Connecticut a few years earlier to make my dreams come true. I opened my film company in 2005, BUM Productions LLC. I shot my first short film and ready to tackle my next big feat. A feature film! I’m on my way to the academy awards now! I could just see it. “And the Oscar goes to BONNIE DENNIS” the under scroll roll reads…. This is the first Oscar given to an African American woman for Best Director…A Black Person Period! My sights were set high. The more I found out about the incredibly famous and sometimes infamously celebrated Shakespeare Lady, the more obsessed I became. I then felt I had the vehicle to do it?
On my quest to making history, my dedicated team of producers and I worked feverishly hard to get this elusive woman’s life story. Early on our many attempts, we could not find her. At first, even I guess the validity of our quest. But after one our exhausting searches, she finally appeared and I would discover just how fascinating she was. It was during this time; I would make a self-discovery of my own. I was 45 years old when I was diagnosed with fibroids that were so debilitating; I could be found bed ridden. Well, true to self, I needed to hurry and remedy the situation “quickly”. After having the hysterectomy so I could hurry and get back to my quest, my life would take different turn. A turn for the worst, no doubt. I didn’t quite feel myself. Again in my haste, I sought to feel better because I’m on an appointed trajectory. Trying to get Margaret Holloway’s life story would soon prove challenging. Margaret who realizes she has a gold mine on her hands, in usual drug addict form, began to bargain for the rights to tell her story. While on my journey to feel better, I put my trust and life in the hands of a doctor. Not realizing my life was now parallel Margaret’s, because my doctor turned out to be my drug dealer.
STARTED FROM THE BOTTOM AND NOW I’M HERE
It was a four-year drug hazed abyss of sleeping pills, Ambien, Wellbutrin, and Prozac. I was a walking zombie. The worst of it all was I had no idea I was a junkie. In my denial, I was still trying to get this film done. At the same time I would lose everything. My best friend, lover, and business partner, my husband left. I lost my home, but most tragically I lost myself. A friend would help me make the conscious decision to stop taking these pills after realizing I no longer need them. It took a little over six months for me to wean myself off the drugs. All this was unbeknownst to my doctor of course. Then I needed more time to get over the anger and loss of time I couldn’t get back. However, I never quenched the thirst within me to make film. In fact, my desire to produce and create film never stopped even though my sicknesses. I kept doing it. It had been nine years since I’d last seen Margaret. I now knew I have a great screenplay. No longer looking to do her life story, but my story of our similarities. But I needed to revisit the story of Margaret Holloway and me in 2015. This documentary is a tribute to my muse for the film “PRETTY LIKE ME”. Margaret is now street drug free and I’m prescription drug free. Now 10 years later, I have a better story and still my ambitions of the academy awards. Thank you Margaret for living this transparent life, and allowing me to be an analogous to you. I’m honored and humbled.
Bonnie Dennis started her acting career over 20 years ago and has appeared in several theatre, film and television productions. Her acting studies were at Weist-Barron Acting for Television, Film and Theatre and with the illustrious Alice Spivak when she furthered her acting studies at the Woodie King Jr’s New Federal Theatre Acting Workshop to name a few. Bonnie has since performed and produced Off-Broadway, produced a voice over recording and appeared in several commercials. In 2005, after producing and co-producing with others, B.U.M. Productions Film Company was formed. In 2006 she wrote her second film a feature “Those People”, which she also produced and directed in late 2007. Bonnie has produced on the short films “Stolen Love” and “Batina’s World” in which she co-executive produced with director Miki Holiday. Bonnie also produced on the short films “Tortured Life” and “P.O.M.E” in which she also served as assistant director on both films as well as executive producer for the trailer “Wax Seal” with director and producer DC Coles. Ms. Dennis is currently working on the highly anticipated “Pretty Like Me”.