By Tribune Staff
NASHVILLE, TN — Hallmark recently began a historic collaboration based on its longtime Black greeting cards, the Mahogany banner. They’ve now launched their first film “Unthinkably Good Things” starring Karen Pittman. It’s directed by Terri J. Vaughn and under Crown Media Production. The film follows Allison, who reunites with her girlfriends in Italy during a pivotal time in both her career and love life. While she is left to make challenging decisions, her confidants Melina (Joyful Drake) and Reesa (Erica Ash) are at a crossroads in their own lives. The cast also features Jermaine Love and Lance Gross. Unthinkably Good Things is executive produced by Korin D. Williams, Monique Nash, and Cristina Giubbetti. David Wulf serves as the producer and the script is by Cas Sigers-Beedles.
The Mahogany banner is telling universal, relatable stories through Black voices and lenses. For Vaughn, the storyline centering around friendship is a reflection of her everyday life. From the way Black women interact to their signature hairstyles, the director, along with her team, was committed to the film being as real as possible.
“I wanted to make sure that I didn’t water down any of our sass. That was really important to me,” Vaughn told the Shadow and Act website. “One of the characters wears braids in the movie, like that was important to me. I really wanted to make sure that we got permission to do that, so I really fought for that. Knowing that we had to fit it in the Hallmark brand, but being able to merge the two…but not being so shell shocked that it’s so outside of the brand. And that the girls felt free and had fun and were able to be themselves. Not have to be inside of a box that was created for them, but that they can breathe and put their sauce and flavor on it.”
Toni Judkins, Crown Media’s senior vice president of programming development, was instrumental in the banner being birthed alongside Wonya Lucas and the Hallmark team. “I wanted to take that experience and the knowledge that I’ve gained over my career and create content for Black women that they would look at it and say, ‘This is for me,’” she expressed. “That’s what I truly believe Unthinkably Good Things is and the films that will follow that African American women will look at it and they will see that it fits on Hallmark, but it is definitely for me.”
Other Mahogany films coming in the future include “To Her, With Love” that is a nod to Sidney Poitier’s 1967 film “To Sir, with Love.” It’s a story that centers around romance, as well as how educators help students expand their dreams. Additionally, the first Mahogany Christmas film is set for December. “Unthinkably Good Things” is now airing on Hallmark Movies & Mysteries.