Chicago short entry scores at HBFF

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Chicago actor/director Morocco Omari won the Best Short Film Award from the recent Hollywood Black Film Festival for “The (Mis)Leading Man,” produced by casting director Sharon King, MJ Allen and Kia J. Goodwin.

Casting director Sharon King took on the role of executive producer on actor/director Morocco Omari’s drama, “The (Mis)Leading Man” ? winner of Best Short Film at the recent 10th annual Hollywood Black Film Festival.

King represented the short at the June 2-9 festival in Beverly Hills, bringing home as prizes a list of meetings with industry executives and an armful of valuable film and software.

Omari, who spent seven years as a screen and theatre actor in L.A., wrote and starred in the 18-minute short about a Hollywood leading man whose life spirals down to his contemplating suicide.

Does he commit suicide? “For the answer, you’ll have to see the movie when it screens in Chicago July 23, at the ICE Theatres,” smiled King.

King produced the “under $10,000” short along with MJ Allen and Kia J. Goodwin, who has produced Omari’s new short, “Good Intentions.”

Omari directed Cordel Al-Ruh, Christian Payton, Tyler Abercrumbie, and Zuri Amina (his daughter who plays his daughter) in a Bronzeville house over two days.

Cutters’ Ruth Epstein edited and Darryl Miller was the cameraman. Michael Alan Stein was the costume designer. Original music by Earl Powell, who works with Jennifer Hudson.

Native Chicagoan Omari returned from L.A. three years ago, where he had roles in primarily episodic television (“Joan of Arcadia,” “Judging Amy”).

Locally, he’s had roles in “The Beast” (regretfully not returning to Chicago for a second season) and in “Prison Break,” and King had cast him in an earlier “Barber Shop” feature.

Currently in editing, “Good Intentions,” about a health care problem, is headed for the October Chicago International Film Festival.

Also in October, Omari will appear in the Lookingglass Theatre Company’s “Fedra,” in which he has a major role as King Theseus, at the ensemble company’s Water Tower theatre.

Two years ago he went back to L.A. to produce a short, “Male Groupies,” which went on to win an American Black Film Festival and other festival short film awards.

Omari’s Chicago agent is Grossman Jack, and Peter Strain represents him in New York.

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