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"THE BALL" PRESS KIT

THE BALL

a film by MALGORZATA SANIEWSKA

 

"The Ball" takes you on an intimate journey into the underground ballroom culture created by marginalized LGBTQ people of color in early 1970s NYC. Thirty years after "Paris Is Burning," the ballroom is thriving worldwide, and "The Ball" gives you an in-depth perspective of courage in the face of adversity.

 

Narrated by the voice of ballroom icon Jack Mizrahi Gucci,  featuring some of the ballroom's most influential and larger-than-life personalities (Kelly Gucci, Omari Oricci, Chi Chi West, Meah West, and Trace Gucci) 

Opening up about family rejection and acceptance, introducing the chosen family concept, its importance to the LGBTQ community, and its contribution to the entertainment industry. 

"The Ball" provides first-hand access to this unique art form. The glamour, competition, skill, and hard work of all involved will leave you wanting to experience "The Ball" for yourself. 

DIRECTOR’ STATEMENT

The inspiration for this film was larger-than-life Jack Mizrahi, revered for his service as a Master of Ceremony across the nation and abroad. He is the voice of the ballroom. I met Jack over ten years ago & we clicked instantly. I started attending the ballroom functions he hosted, to which he has always encouraged me to film. We became friends, and the more time we spent together, the more I understood his greatness. We didn't know it then, but throughout making this film, he became a writer, a consultant, and an actor on the TV show "POSE." An executive producer on all three seasons of HBO's Max "LEGENDARY." He has produced several ad campaigns with Equinox and Coach and hosted the 2019 Met Gala Performance.  

CAST AND CREW 

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Jack Mizrahi

Jack Mizrahi, a thirty-year veteran of the esteemed Ballroom Community, is renowned as the "voice of the Ballroom scene." His mastery of ceremonies extends across the nation and beyond, earning him international acclaim. From the Inaugural Sean John Fashion event to hosting talent segments at the "night of the Apollo," Jack's captivating presence shines through. He's not just an icon within the Ballroom community; he's also the co-creator of the National Ballroom Awards Ceremony, the Ballroom Hall of Fame, and the Ballroom House Hall of Fame. His innovative concepts, like The Rainbow House Wars and Super Ball Sundays, have elevated competition in the Ballroom world.

As a community leader, Jack Mizrahi is an advocate for HIV/STD prevention. He spearheads interventions like "The WIZ Group," aiming for positive social change. His "I'M THE VOTE" campaign, sponsored by Unilever, engages the Ballroom community in voter mobilization efforts. Jack also founded the entertainment group House of Gorgeous, celebrating diversity and acceptance at high-profile events like The Met Gala.

In television, Jack Mizrahi's impact is profound. He's consulted on Ryan Murphy's hit series "POSE" and co-executive produced HBO MAX's "Legendary," showcasing the Ballroom scene. Additionally, Jack's music features on Jennifer Lopez's album "AKA" and DJ Ryan Sky's dance hit. He's appeared in films like "Sunday Church" and continues to develop Ballroom-related reality shows and movie projects.

Jack Mizrahi's dedication to uplifting his community shines through his work as an executive producer, writer, casting director, and advocate. His mission to showcase the talents and struggles of the Ballroom community in a positive light remains unwavering.

Omari Oricci

Ousmane Wiles is an African American West African and Vogue dancer. Wiles is best know as, legendary Omari NiNa Oricci, founder of The House of Nina Oricci [est. OCT. 2019] and Creative Director of LES BALLET AFRIK dance company.

 

Wiles was born in West Africa Senegal. He began his training in West African dance at the age of 6 years old, under the tutelage of his mother and father, who owned a dance company. Wiles joined his mother [Marie Basse Wiles] and father [BaBa Olukose Anthony Wiles] and became the assistant director of the family company, The Maimouna Ketia School of African Dance. Working with master African dancers, Ousmane evolved the skills needed to teach the art of traditional African dance. Venturing further into the world of dance, Wiles found himself learning, training and falling in love with other styles such as Hip-Hop, House, Modern, Jazz, and Vogue. 

 

Through his involvement with the ballroom scene, his love and passion for Vogue (dance) grew. As his notoriety in the ballroom scene grew, it began to grow outside of the ballroom scene as well. Wiles has had the opportunity to work with many artists, featuring his range of dance. His choreography has been featured with Janet Jackson, Beyoncé, John Legend, Jidenna, and Rashaad Newsome and he has worked as a featured dancer, showcasing Afrobeats [with Goldlink, Jidenna, Maleek Berry, and Wunmi], West African dance [with Janet Jackson, Beyoncé, and Forces], and Vogue [with Rashaad Newsome, Lady Gaga, Madonna, and Jennifer Hudson]. Wiles has been published in Dance Magazine "Top 25 to Watch", Korean Vogue, British Vogue in a spread featuring Naomi Campbell, The Observer, Dance Mogul Magazine, and The New York Times. Wiles also appeared with his house [the house of Nina Oricci] as a contestant on Legendary Season 2 on HBOMax.

 

Wiles is now evolving his own style of dance with his company LES BALLET AFRIK, blending African, Vogue, Modern, and House as one. He and his company have performed at the Joyce Theater, the Guggenheim, and the New York Metropolitan Museum.

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Chi Chi West

Francisco Gonzalez Jr, Also known as the Legendary Icon Mother Chi Chi Unbothered West has been a gatekeeper and community advocate for the LGBTQ and underground House and Ballroom community for over 17 years now. His advocacy work has allowed him to travel to various countries including Pakistan, Turkey, and Italy doing political and grassroots work with other LGBTQ members and groups abroad.  He is currently a Program director for a non-profit agency in Harlem, NY named SCAN Harbor where he works with 23 different community centers and schools in low income areas working to implement LGBTQ safe spaces and services within places deemed unsafe. He is an icon in the youth led kiki scene where he is the founder of the house of Unbothered Cartier and In Mainstream is Legendary Vogue Fem and Overseer for the House of West. He has appeared in icon pops music video “all night” and has worked with various brands and companies including Adidas, Absolut, and Coach, Etc.

His life’s motto is “Veni , Vidi, Vici- I came, I saw, I conquered.” 

Małgorzata Saniewska
Director / Video Editor / Photographer

Born in Warsaw, Poland in 1981 Saniewska has moved to US in 2003 to purse her passion for photography. For the two decades, Malgorzata Saniewska has been a photographer, video editor and independent filmmaker base in NYC. She has done photography work for ID Models, BMG Model and Garo Sparo clothing line. She has interned for Sante D'Orazio Studios, Milk Studio in NYC and was an assistant for Dan & Corina Lecca during NYC's Mercedes Benz Fashion Week. In 2011 a passion project “PlayMe Burlesque” deck of cards that showcases today's modern day American "New Burlesque" sex symbols in a style reminiscent of Alberto Vargas' Pin-Up Girls of the 1940’s, has inspired her debut feature film under the same title that premiered in film festivals around the world. In 2016 the “PlayMe Burlesque” film has became an award-winning Best Documentary Feature at Coney Island FF (NYC), Special Award at Dona I Cinema FF(Spain), followed by official selection: Raindance FF (UK), KRAFTA DOC INTERNATIONAL (Scotland), MICGenero (Mexico), NewFilmmakers (NYC), WMWFF (Taiwan). In the following years Saniewska has pursed video editing career as head video editor in an advertising agency, as well as a freelance work on short films, fashion week, music videos, off broadway shows, live entertainment and all around video productions. Saniewska’s new film “The Ball” is a portraiture of “Ballroom” a 50 years old LGBTQ community that risen to existence in face of harsh realities, providing shelter and ultimate acceptance to its members on a “Vogue” runway. 

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Daniel Marracino

Daniel Marracino - Executive Producer  is a filmmaker, cinematographer, and photographer. Marracino has lensed over 1000 multi camera fashion shows and has shot 15 feature documentary films with several top all time top grossing theatrical productions including “Fat Sick & Nearly Dead” & “Capitalism a Love Story”. Marracino runs Love Seat Entertainment www.loveseat.live (http://www.loveseat.live) for commercial work and his latest photography exhibit “In Flig
ht” will exhibit in 2024.

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