Mary Ann Rotondi’s QUEEN OF THE DESERT wins Best Woman Directed Short at the Poppy Jasper International Film Festival

Buzz, Film, Reviews

This evocative short film was inspired by the director’s visits to her home state of Montana, where she frequently encountered the Confederate flag, despite the state not having a large black population or any meaningful connection to the Civil War. What is it about this symbol that is so powerful, and what does it say about the loneliness and isolation so many people feel today? When so much of the national dialogue seems aimed at pitting people against one another, QUEEN OF THE DESERT aspires to create a situation where lonely people might find a way to talk and make room for one another’s shared humanity.

QUEEN OF THE DESERT has been named an Official Selection of the Baltimore Black International Film Festival, the Toronto Black Film Festival, the Denton Black Film Festival (where it was named Finalist in the Best Shorts Narrative Category), the Front Range Film Festival and the Through Women’s Eyes International Film Festival.

When a lonely long-haul trucker picks up a young black hitchhiker, an encounter with the police forces them to push through their prejudices to find a connection as human beings.

Writer/director Mary Ann Rotondi comes from a background as an award-winning producer, writer and director of documentary films and long-form documentary television. As a producer on CBS News’ 48 Hours, and NBC’s Dateline, she has won Emmy awards, a prestigious New York Press Club Award, a Clarion Award, and a Gracie award.

Directed, produced and written by Mary Ann Rotondi, and produced with Jeanette Bonner, QUEEN OF THE DESERT stars Robert Eli (Madam Secretary, The Good Fight) and Jade Radford (Chicago P.D., Orange is the New Black). Award-winning cinematographer Luke Askelson shot the film (mostly in a parking lot outside of Denver), and the award-winning Emily Chao lovingly edited Luke’s stunning footage. Award-winning composer Simon TaufiQue scored QUEEN OF THE DESERT.