Monday, November 17, 2014

Review of the premiere of Madame ou Mademoiselle?: By Jean Claude Elie

Review of the premiere of Madame ou Mademoiselle?
By: Eng. Jean Claude Elie (RockMaster)
November 17, 2014


With more than five years in the making and delayed by numerous starts, stops and restarts, mostly caused by budget constraints, writer & director Sheila Degraff finally pulled the switch and achieved what I, and many skeptics thought would never come to fruition. Yes, director Degraff, you pulled it off on October 26, 2014 with the release of the very first Haitian movie musical “Madame ou Mademoiselle?”

Most, if not all of us, know Sheila as a talented songwriter and vocalist originating from  the roots (racine) music world, as a performer in the group Rara Machine, led by Clifford Sylvain. At that time, a future as a script writer and movie director was surely not part of her plans, I presume.

Many years ago, Sheila had embarked on a project to produce a new music album. The first song she wrote was about a wife singing in anger “Tande’m Tande”..gin yon ti fanm ki vle pran mari’m. As Sheila listened to the finished song, she thought, “Why not create dialog in which the “ti fanm” (Mademoiselle)” replies to the wife (Madame)?. Thus came the next song “Gason marié”.

One thing led to another, culminating in her decision to make the CD into a full featured movie musical.  She then began writing the script for the first Haitian movie musical, “Madame ou Mademoiselle?”


With no budget to hire professional actors, and with little financial sponsorship, producing the movie would be a challenge. So Sheila decided to reach out to personal friends and acquaintances that have talents, most no movie acting experience, to join her in this project.

She subsequently revealed an exceptional skill in casting, as she perfectly matched these mostly rookie actors with roles that each one of them excelled in. It included this writer who had the perfect role of playing himself in a short appearance. Each one of the actors played his or her role to perfection. Namely; Mikerline Pierre (Mamay), Adina Anglade (Kapita), Jean Claude Eugene (Bruno), Mayer Morisette (Pierre), Marjorie Renaud (Lumina), Yatande Boko (Palasso), Steffy Bee (Tamara), only to name a few. In short, she hit a home run in the casting category.

Then came the tedious work and challenges of finding shooting locations, scheduling the actors, technical crew, etc for rehearsals and final takes with the technical director Johnny Regice. Adding to the stress, was the constant search of financial support to cover the mounting expenses.

Hard work and years of perseverance paid off,  and  took us to the Vault Café on October 26, 2014 for the grand premiere of “Madame ou Mademoiselle?”


Anxious, excited and nervous, Sheila was on the phone all morning making sure everything was in place, including calling me, the MC, a least 5 times  stressing “Don’t be late”

Comes 4:00 PM, the scheduled door opening time, there was already a line outside the club. By the time of my arrival at 5PM, I was pleasantly surprised to see that the room was almost full with very few seats left.

As I looked around the room, I observed a public made of a cross section of the Haitian community, including artists, media personalities, politicians, business owners, young people to senior citizen and the general public as a whole. Everyone wearing perfect attire for the occasion. It was a reminder of the old traditional Sunday afternoon at the movies in Haiti.

For an hour before the start of live performances, it was time for socializing, networking and joyous friendly reunions toasted with a cocktail at the bar


Then it was time for the live performances. MC Jean-Claude Elie (RockMaster) took the stage to welcome everyone and announce the start of the festivities. First was the introduction of the star of the night Sheila Degraff, with a brief bio of her voyage from Singer to Script Writer to Movie Director.

Following was a series of lively performances that truly delighted the public. It featured: Blaise (System  Band) and his dancers, singer Jocelyne Dorisme, actress/singer Adina Anglade, Actor/Vocalist Jean Claude Eugene, Actor/R&B Singer Mayer Morisette, Kizomba dance, drum solo, closing with dancers of the Mikerline Dance School. In short it was an hour packed with a variety of exciting performances.


Theater lights out, Silence, Projector Beam streaming across the room;

‘Madame ou Mademoiselle” has finally hit the big screen. and in a split second, Sheila’s dream has become a reality. One could detect a big smile  widening  across her face.

Be careful though! Just as this moment is pure joy, one question remains. Will it be a lasting joy or will disappointment set-in 2 hours later? The answer will be in the hands of the viewing public and the critics, once the room’s lights are back on.

As the minutes kept ticking, scenes after scenes on the big screen, a sense of relief started to built,  as laughter, applause, tension, silence, sudden screams, and all the emotions which are signs of a great movie filled the room for the full 2 hours.

Then : “THE END”. Lights are back on, followed by applause and a standing ovation. Sheila’s big smile and joy has survived and will last.

The critics were unanimous. “Great Script, Great Music, Fun and Exciting Movie”.

Now, it’s time for you, the reader, to taste the feeling of being present by watching this condensed video which I put together with highlights of what is reported above.
Jean Claude Elie, Eng
RockMasters Marketing Services


  1. Great report. I was at the premiere and it was fantastic. contrats to you sheila. Keep it up

  2. Beautiful job Sheila. Very original and well done

  3. When is the next showing? I am sorry I missed this one..

  4. Very funny. Mamay and Kapita were the hits to me. ou gin nan kow mamay...