Private Project

Dusk Dawn

After years of searching for her missing sister, a woman haunted by her past turns to the supernatural as a last ditch effort to find her last remaining family member. Forced to finally confront her demons, she straddles the world of the living and dead to find answers while choosing on which side she will remain.

  • Jolan B. Bastien
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Writer Biography - Jolan B. Bastien

Jolan Bastien, 43, is a screenwriter, originally from the suburbs of Pittsburgh, PA, who has called the Baltimore, DC-Metro area home for over 20 years. Jolan, a graduate of Morgan State University, has been writing short stories and poetry since grade school and, as her skills have evolved over the years, has found her true passion in writing screenplays for film and television.

Jolan’s works feature stories of people of color – primarily Black Americans, but not exclusively – who find themselves in extraordinary situations not based on their status as people of color. Frustrated by how many stories about people of African descent center on their pain and struggles for equal treatment, or, conversely, their ability to run, sing, dance, and tells jokes, Jolan explores worlds of stories that haven’t been told. While it is clear that people of color deal with matters of race daily, these situations play only a tangential role in the tales of hauntings, alien visitations, cloning and virtual realities in which Jolan’s characters find themselves.

She is interested in exploring stories of the mundane and the fantastic that change the politics of race and culture without being overtly political. Those who have read her works have been moved not only by the emotion she conveys through theme and story, but by the worlds she creates that are found in the least-regarded corners of great Black literature, and rarely seen on film at all.

Jolan has received several kudos for her work – while in high school, she topped several cultural arts and essay competitions. In college, she rose to the top of her creative writing and journalism classes to graduate cum laude. In the workplace, Jolan has been recognized for her contributions in leadership, skill and composition, and has been asked to lend her screenwriting skills to create vignettes used for training and sales.

In 2010 Jolan enrolled in the Masters of Fine Arts for Professional Screenwriting program at National University. While she ran into some personal issues that prevented her from completing the thesis portion of the program, she gained an immense amount of insight into the art and craft of screenwriting, which has not only lent to her a massive amount of skill, but that has only fostered her love of writing for the big and small screens.

Jolan acknowledges that without the loving and unfailing support of her husband David, their children, and her close family and friends, she would not have been able to develop her work to the level at which it stands today. She is looking forward to sharing her work with the world and is excited to see the love and inclusion that her work represents shared with the film and television lovers of the world.

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Writer Statement

I write what I want to see on the screen. I want to see my grandmother, my aunts, my mother and father, my cousins and siblings. I want to see myself. I want to see people of color not typically seen in American cinema – people who are witty, not stereotypical or clownish, people who are upstanding, but deep and beautiful faults, people who are achingly funny and who have committed to loving and healing together in spite of all of the ugliness the world may hand to them. I want to see these people’s beautiful lives given justice – and then I want to put some ghosts, aliens and murderers in their lives and see what they do with that.
My work explores mysteries – mysteries of the universe – we can’t be alone in the universe – who are our neighbors? Are they aware of us? Are they on other planets or in other dimensions? Are they related to us? Mysteries of the soul – what is this thing that animates us and makes up our personalities? Why did it decide to incorporate here? Could it have done so in another dimension? Can the soul be damaged? Is this what we see in people with severe mental illnesses? Does this explain hauntings and possessions? Do people with Dissociative Identity Disorder house more than one soul in their bodies? I am interested in exploring the why and how of the things for which, in this life, we, as yet, have no clear answers.
I envision Dusk Dawn coming alive on the screen in many ways as I imagined it, but I am eager to see it heightened and transformed through the input of the actors, director, wardrobe designers, camera crew and editors. While I endeavored to make the characters as three-dimensional as possible, I am eager to see the story fleshed out and lived in, in a collaborative space that will deepen and enrich the themes for the audience and make the experience a moving and memorable one.
Dusk Dawn touches on themes of loneliness and reunification. The characters are people wanting connection and finding it within themselves to allow and be at peace with that connection. I see them mastering the fears they have developed from their traumas by not necessarily ridding themselves of those fears, but by pressing on with their lives and loves in spite of them.
The tone is dark and brooding – representing where the protagonist, Cadence, finds herself at the point in her life in which we meet her. There is a theme of fire as a trial for her, and as the film ends, the tone lightens and evens out along with the protagonist as she manages to make peace with her life as it is and where’s it’s brought her.
The films of Jordan Peele have opened my eyes to who will be interested in seeing this film. Previously, I presumed that my film would have some crossover appeal, but that non-Black moviegoers would assume that it’s a “Black movie” and that they wouldn’t relate to the story and therefore bypass it and I was OK with that. But Peele’s films have shown that if the story is good – people will go to see it in droves. I acknowledge that I am still growing as a writer and don’t presume to bring in the crowds that Peele brings in, but his experience has allowed me to have a larger vision for the audience of this film. I believe that, primarily, it will be lovers of thrillers who will fill the seats to see this film.
I am passionate about this telling this story because I find it interesting how a person’s childhood experiences can leave them feeling hollow and dead inside, making living feel like a torture and how that can be healed. I am fascinated by how people will use drugs and alcohol to numb their pain, then participate in risky behavior to try to feel alive. I am fascinated by the concept of loneliness and how people cope with that. I am fascinated by people who want to fill their lonely spaces but at the same time reject people willing to do so. I am fascinated by people who hit rock bottom and who somehow find a reason to not only hang in there, but to push themselves back up to the surface and who break through with a desire not only to live, but to thrive. These are the overarching themes of the character arcs in Dusk Dawn. Healing. Truth. Redemption