Twisted Valley Films Attaches Annette Haywood-Carter to Direct Dear Jack

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Longtime multi-hyphenate actor/writer/producers Cece KingElyse Russell and Devon Ogden have attached Annette Haywood-Carter to direct DEAR JACK, based on the memoir Dear Jack: A Love Letter, by Barbara Bates Conroy and Jackson Scott Conroy.

Haywood-Carter will direct from a script penned by King.

Actor, producer and writer Cece King is best known for THE BROKEN ONES (which she also wrote), Jessica Jones and Masters of Sex. Russell made her directorial debut with THE BROKEN ONES and is a prolific director/producer of shorts including HER and iLOVE. Devon Ogden's credits include "Nashville" and "This is Us" and is the founder of The Safi Life Foundation, which promotes female advancement in Africa through education

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Jeff Solema of Go East Media is producing alongside Twisted Valley Films. For its part, Twisted Valley Films is devoted to producing films of social relevance driven by complex female protagonists with a 50% female hiring quota per film.

Annette Haywood-Carter began her directing career with THE FOOT SHOOTING PARTY starring Leonardo DiCaprio. After ten years of script supervising (working on studio films like DRIVING MISS DAISY, DIE HARD 2, CASPER and THE FLINTSTONES) she landed a grant created by Jeffrey Katzenberg and Touchstone Pictures, in search of new talent, to fund the film.

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Steven Spielberg, Bruce Cohen, Bruce Beresford, Saul Zaentz and John Lithgow, among others, took a personal interest in her career and helped her transition into directing: Spielberg saw THE FOOT SHOOTING PARTY and hired Haywood-Carter to direct an episode of NBC's "SeaQuest." SeaQuest star Roy Scheider asked her to return to direct another episode. She then directed the indie feature FOXFIRE and selected Angelina Jolie from auditions to star in the film. Many credit FOXFIRE as the film that launched Jolie's career, and led to Jolie being cast in GIA and GIRL INTERRUPTED. In 2013 Haywood-Carter directed SAVANNAH starring Jim Caviezel, Chiwitel Eijofor, Jaimie Alexander, Bradley Whitford and Sam Shepard.

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DEAR JACK is adapted from the Amazon bestseller nonfiction book Dear Jack: A Love Letter by Barbara Bates Conroy and Jackson Scott Conroy; Barbara will serve as an Executive Producer on the film.

In the book, Barbara shares her highly personal and tragic experiences with drug addiction, family discord, loss, and grief. After her son Jack passed from a heroin overdose in 2015 after struggling with substance abuse for years, Barbara continued to write him letters, as she had done ever since he was a baby. Barbara subsequently invested herself in grief workshops and alternative healing practices, and found a new spiritual path, one that proved crucial both to coping with her past and moving her life forward. With the aid of psychics, mediums, intuitive and her cultivated powers of introspection and recognition, Barbara comes to terms with her own pain and power, as well as Jack's.

Barbara's unconventional memoir is intimate, moving, unforgettable and according to producer King, ideal for adaptation to the screen. The film focuses on how Barbara was able to utilize her letters and the other healing modalities following Jack's death from opioids—a personal story from the front lines of an ongoing national crisis.

Haywood-Carter concludes, "I'm honored to have the opportunity to direct DEAR JACK. This film is both a powerful personal story and a sweeping indictment of the opioid crisis. As these tragedies are being played out across the country and in theaters, Barbara's story offers hope. It speaks most eloquently to the mothers and families who are caught up in this nightmare, to their survival, which is no less at stake than the addict's."

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Twisted Valley Films is repped by Joshua R. Lastine of the law firm Reder and Feig LLP; Carter is repped by Jackie Eckhouse, partnered with John Sloss at Sloss Eckhouse Law Co.

DEAR JACK is set to go before the cameras in Massachusetts in Fall 2019.

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