“The Engagement,” the sequel to top comedy rental “My Phamily BBQ,” premieres April 24

“The Engagement: My Phamily BBQ 2,” the sequel to one of the biggest urban comedy rentals of 2003, has its world premiere April 24 at the Lake Theater in Oak Park.

“It’s about two cultures coming together,” said William Pierce, writer, producer, DP and editor.

Directed by Ytasha Womack, “The Engagement” is a culture clash romantic comedy about a Jewish man and a Baptist, African-American woman dealing with family pressures over their impending wedding.

“The bride and the groom are madly in love and not worried about religion,” said Pierce, who wrote the script with Fred Spivey.

“But the Jewish mother wants a Jewish ceremony and the Baptist mother wants a Baptist ceremony. It’s an on-again, off-again wedding and the two families have to find a middle ground so it can happen.”

Andy Gershenzon returns from “My Phamily BBQ” as the groom; Tenique Mathieu (“Guiding Light,” “The Ultimate Betrayal”) plays the bride.

BernNadette Stanis (“Good Times”) and Freeman Coffey (“Uncle Nino”) are the bride’s parents. Nancy Baird (“The Package”) and Dan Flannery (“The Weather Man”) are the groom’s mother and father. Clifton Davis (“Any Given Sunday”) plays the bride’s uncle, the reverend.

Pierce approached Womack to direct after seeing her debut feature “Love Shorts” at the Gene Siskel Film Center’s 2004 Black Harvest International Festival of Film & Video.

Jonathan Woods directed “Love Shorts.” Womack produced, and adapted from her own short stories. The DVD is due for release April 28 from producers Art & Ink Entertainment.

“I was highly impressed,” Pierce said. “I knew that she had the tenacity and know-how to accomplish a project on limited funds.”

Executive producer Neil Luspo raised the $300,000 budget via a loan through State Treasurer Judy Baar Topinka’s Lights! Camera! Illinois! low-interest loan program.

“The success of ?My Phamily BBQ’ sealed the deal [for financing],” Pierce said. He shot on HD last summer.

“The Engagement” is a co-production of Pierce’s 23 Hues Entertainment, which produced the first “BBQ,” and Urban Multimedia, a partnership between Pierce and Luspo. Executive producer is Jim White.

Pierce is in distribution talks with Lions Gate Films, Image Entertainment, and Maverick Entertainment, which released the first film on video.

He’s also in pre-production on the kidnap thriller “Ran$um,” starring Devin Wesley (Pierce’s “Hostage”) and Eric Lane (“One Week,” “Waist Deep”), slated to start shooting in May.

“The Engagement: My Phamily BBQ 2” premieres April 24 at 7 p.m. at the Lake Theater, 1020 Lake St., Oak Park. Cast and crew will attend. RSVP to 708/524-2415.