A crime drama mob series in the making got an early opportunity to strut its stuff, with a pre-launch party and fundraiser on March 28.
The exclusive event showcasing the new “Mob Mentality” series attracted over 150 people to Legends Bar & Grill at 2128 Flatbush Ave., in Marine Park.
Among the attendees were reality stars Jesse “JB” Brown and Danielle “Danny Duces of BET’s “Hustle in Brooklyn” and Chris Phoenix, a television producer and the CEO of Phoenix Media Group.
Throughout the evening, enthusiastic attendees mixed and mingled with the cast, enjoyed sounds from DJ J-Wavy and watched live performances.
In addition to screening a new and updated version of the show trailer, the party served as the official kickoff to the #LetsMakeAMobShow crowdfunding campaign, whose goal is to raise $50,000 by the end of April, with the funds going towards production costs to finish shooting the pilot episode. Once the pilot is complete, the show will then be shopped around to major cable and streaming networks.
According to “Mob Mentality” writer, director and executive producer Isis Djata, the event was a complete success. Djata — a native New Yorker, law school graduate, and actress of West African descendant — was inspired to write the intense crime drama in 2013 while recovering from a near-death head-on collision with a drunk driver.
The filmmaker invested $40,000 of her personal savings to begin filming the pilot episode in 2017. She then moved on from her six-figure position in the non-profit healthcare sector to become a full-time filmmaker in October 2018. Djata is also a screenwriter and the CEO of Locked & Loaded Films.
“I’m overwhelmed and extremely grateful for the amount of love and support that we received at the ‘Mob Mentality’ pre-launch party,” she said. “Tickets were sold out, plus we sold dozens of T-shirts, show posters and photos autographed by the cast. Attendees were so excited about helping us meet our fundraising goal so that we can finish filming the pilot episode!”
“Mob Mentality” revolves around actor Jack Spiegs’ character Carmine “Car” Ponte, Jr., the son of a reputed mobster who sets out to rebuild his life after getting released from prison. However, a series of events derail his plans and thrust him into a life of crime.
Actress Gianna Sciortino, who plays Isabella Giganti, was at the event with her mother and father, Anthony and Lisa Sciortino. Anthony owns Brooklyn 4 U Realty in Dyker Heights with Maria Castellano, who also attended the event.
“I am so excited for everyone to see what the cast of ‘Mob Mentality’ has been working on,” Gianna Sciortino told this paper. “Playing Isabella Giganti has been an amazing opportunity and experience for me. Isabella is Carmine Ponte, Jr.’s right-hand girl. She is in charge of all the escorts. Isabella is a strong and respected chick who keeps the girls in line. Playing this role has been so much fun and allows me to challenge my acting abilities. Thank you, Isis Djata, for believing in me.”
Following a screening of the trailer, award-winning multimedia journalist Selena Hill moderated a panel discussion with a cast and audience Q&A.
The night ended with a dynamic performance by Frances Mignano, an actress and producer known for the 2007 Mafia blockbuster “American Gangster.”
The local star delivered a powerful rendition of the classic “New York, New York,” which was followed by a live performance from LeA Robinson of Bravo’s “First Family of Hip Hop,” and an impromptu performance by Jack Ciraolo, who plays Carmine Sr. in “Mob Mentality.”
Djata said the night would not have been a success without the support of her PR team, the owner of Legends Bar and Grill, and the event sponsors, which included Reebok, Cuba Original, Monster Energy Drinks, Perrier Water, Clinique, Bartenura Moscato, Disaronno and Seraphin’s Catering.
“I’m so thankful to work with a group of people and brands that support me and my vision to make ‘Mob Mentality’ the most compelling episodic Mafia series since ‘The Sopranos,’” said Djata. “We’re on our way to becoming the next best mob series in history.”
The event raised more than $5,000 through ticket sales, donations and T-shirt sales.