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21’s Director Tempestt Harris Produces a Fashion Film Celebrating “Thriller 40″with the CLT’s Northwest School Of The Arts


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Michael Jackson’s legacy, intricately complex, took center stage in “Thriller 40,” a documentary by director Nelson George on December 2nd. This film boldly celebrates Jackson’s musical genius and the groundbreaking album that catapulted him into a pop realm where few could rival his influence. We thought this would be the perfect project to celebrate in Thriller’s artistic success. In Charlotte, North Carolina, Jean Brendel, a self-taught costume designer and dedicated educator, assumes a leading role in nurturing aspiring designers. This article explores the dynamic projects undertaken by Jean’s students and the transformative journey they embark on under her expert guidance and their participation in our “Thriller” Fashion Film.

” Thriller ” A Fashion Film Directed By Tempestt

Northwest School Of The Arts students from Jean Brendel’s design class recently collaborated with film director and Level21 TV’s executive producer Tempestt Harris.This project aims to support the design program and feature these emerging talents in a fashion film. The film is a contemporary reimagining of Michael Jackson’s iconic “Thriller” video which also takes place around the NODA theater, is produced by Jason Hylton’s Good Look Productions. The film stars Actress Ida Misghina and Model Samuel Posey in the lead roles, adorned in wardrobe styled by Ryne Oliver (Art Anonymous) , jumpsuit design by Tygerian Lace, and hair and makeup by Miracle Hands by PennyTara Nichole came as a special guest model cameo. Northwest students participated as background cast along with The Charlotte Fashion Collective.

Enthusiastically, Jean shared insights into her students’ ongoing project—crafting masks for their production of Sule Junior. These masks, currently in the preliminary sketching stage, will be refined in collaboration with the director. The meticulous creation of these masks, using various materials, exemplifies the intricate nature of costume design, where creativity and precision converge to bring stage characters to life.

Jean’s teaching is marked by the remarkable growth and transformation observed in her students. They evolve significantly, gaining comfort with sewing machines, honing the ability to learn from mistakes, and showcasing adaptability and innovation as designers. The collaboration with the Northwest School of the Arts and their involvement in the fashion film “Thriller” serve as a testament to the talent and innovation fostered by Jean and her students, ensuring the continued growth of the art of costume design in the Charlotte community.

“Thriller 40” tactfully sidesteps philosophical debates, focusing unwaveringly on Jackson’s music and the profound impact he had on the industry. Interviews with Usher, Mary J. Blige, and Will.I.Am underscore “Thriller” as the “ultimate blueprint to modern pop music.”

The documentary skillfully navigates through Jackson’s history, acknowledging his success with The Jackson 5 and highlighting that his solo triumph was far from preordained. From the 1979 album “Off the Wall” to the explosion of hits in 1982 with “Thriller,” including iconic tracks like “Thriller,” “Billie Jean,” and “Beat It,” the film delves into Jackson’s musical journey.

A captivating segment of the film showcases Jackson’s 1983 performance at the Motown anniversary show, leaving the audience in awe. Rare interviews and behind-the-scenes footage shed light on the creation of the iconic “Thriller” video, a testament to Jackson’s commitment to pushing boundaries, even with a groundbreaking $1.2-million budget.

While “Thriller 40” immerses viewers in Jackson’s musical prowess, it does not shy away from the shadows that have cast a pall over his memory. The documentary acknowledges the controversies surrounding Jackson’s life but redirects attention to the music and the thrills he brought as a performer.

Jackson, like other artists enveloped by scandal, has ardent defenders, evident in the response to controversies like the 2019 documentary “Leaving Neverland.” The film hints at a forthcoming movie biography, demonstrating ongoing interest and engagement from the Jackson family.

In conclusion, “Thriller 40” offers a nuanced perspective, celebrating Jackson’s musical legacy while acknowledging the complexities surrounding his life on Paramount+ and at 8 p.m. ET on Showtime, the documentary invites viewers to appreciate Jackson’s artistry, leaving them to navigate their personal levels of fandom and reflection on his enduring impact.

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