Director Lovelace Lee III tackles 97 years of rich, Black history with the documentary “Saraella Ursery: Pillar of Bethel AME Church, Perris” for the members of Bethel AME Church, located in Perris, California. “We’re most grateful for the opportunity to make this documentary,” Lee says. The documentary about the life of Saraella Ursery and her amazing 64 years of service to Bethel is now in production. Ursery is the last, founding member of the Inland Empire church and is 97- years-old.
“I’ve been in the church my whole life,” Sister Ursery says. She’s been a lifelong AME and was christened at the age of six weeks. In his interviews with Sister Ursery,Lee has already learned so much. “Everything s reveals is either a real pearl of wisdom or funny as all get out,” he added. “I can’t imagine ever being this wise or this funny.”
The documentary will be presented in five chapters: “Arkansas,” “California,” “Church,” “Marriage,” and “Now” to present Sister Ursery’s life. Members and friends of Bethel will be interviewed to share their relationship and earliest memories of Sister Ursery. “It boggles my mind when I put it into perspective,” Lee says.
“Everyone that has ever visited or joined Bethel AME Church, Perris can’t help but know Sister Ursery—because she’s been there for 64 years—for as long as the church itself.”
“We’ve planned and prayed,” Kevin Norwood says. He's the business partner of Lee's who’s producing the documentary with him.
“It’s a blessing to be in production with our first film.”
So far, the production team is rounded by Fouché François Jr., a film & video production major at the prestigious Art Institute of California—Los Angeles and Bethel member Carolyn Chatman. François is a producer; Chatman serves as the documentary’s researcher. The documentary is being made due to the congregation’s generous support.
“Our goal is to have the completed documentary on DVD in time for the Southern California Annual Conference of the AME Church, in September,” Lee says. Follow the progress of the documentary on the "Sara Ursery: Pillar of Bethel AME Church, Perris Documentary" Facebook page and become a fan for an opportunity to win a free copy.
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