Storytelling school

Pointer carries a lifelong love for storytelling

Courtesy pictures
Roselie Bellanca Posselius is hard at work editing.

Storytelling is a common thread in the life of Roselie Bellanca Posselius, going through her first professional job in a commercial art studio, running a theatrical production company with her father and starting a documentary company ten years ago.
“My dad (Peter Bellanca) was a lawyer, but he always wanted to be an actor, so after many, many years of health issues, he finally became an actor and got to know all the actors in town,” said Posselius. . “Many years ago, Detroit was one of the major movie producers for the commercial industry, so there were a lot of very talented actors here in town and being a theater buff, my dad said, ‘ Look, we need to create work for these talented people.
The father and daughter duo began producing theater through her father’s company, Detroit Actors Guild Productions, in 1994. Bellanca continued to perform until his death in 1998, after which Posselius took over the company .
“My favorite, and kind of the one I did for the first time on my own, was called ‘Tony ‘n Tina’s Wedding,’ and we’ve really been doing it, pandemic aside, since 1998,” she said. said, noting that DAG Productions has offered many of Detroit’s longest-running shows.
While the company is not yet in a position where Posselius feels comfortable reopening due to the pandemic, it fully plans to continue producing theater and is looking forward to doing so.
Just over a decade ago, the Grosse Pointe Farms resident also got her foot in the door with documentary work when a friend asked her to join a series of projects for Henry Ford Health such as pieces for corporate culture and public service announcements.
It was a natural progression to starting a documentary company, Occam Productions, with partner and Woods resident JC Whitelaw in 2010.

The original cast of “Tony ‘n Tina’s Wedding”. Posselius is first from the left in the second row.

Due to her long history with Académie du Sacré-Coeur, which is now Académie de Grosse Pointe – she attended the school when it transitioned in 1969, currently sits on the board of directors, is the former President of the National Associated Alumnae/i of the Sacred Heart and intends to begin serving the organization on a global level – it was only a matter of time before Posselius’ documentary work took hold. aligns with his passion for school.
Not only did Posselius launch a networking platform, Sacred Heart Connections, which is being built for North America with the intention of going global in a few years, but she also spearheaded the creation of The Legacy Project. through which she interviewed alumni from all over. the world to create mini-documentaries for archival purposes telling the story of the Sacred Heart schools.
Among the 300 to 400 alumni Posselius estimates he interviewed throughout the project is Barbara Henry, who taught Ruby Bridges, the first African-American student to be integrated into a school in southern Louisiana. Henry and Bridges were alone in a classroom all year.
Another notable interview was with Federica Germani, who lives in Rome and is the archivist for the World Association of Alumnae of the Sacred Heart. Germani told the story of the Nazis arriving at the School of the Sacred Heart in Rome during World War II to search for the people the nuns were hiding there. The superior general asked the Nazi soldiers to pray with her before searching and their captain, so moved by his faith, decided to abandon the search and left without capturing the family who were hiding in the convent.
“I’m looking to do a documentary about the history of the Sacred Heart, going back to 1800 and the French Revolution,” Posselius added of his upcoming work, “so it’s going to be long and I’ve done research compared to all my other jobs for over 25 years, but putting it all together will be interesting and hopefully something I can slowly work on over the next few years.
Other upcoming documentary projects include a play about the history of Italian food in Detroit in partnership with the local Italian consulate, which is currently in the research phase, as well as a play about Detroit’s music industry focusing on specific artists who have yet to be revealed.
“Travel is something I look forward to doing if my work slows down,” Posselius added, “or actually probably traveling to tell more stories is (more) the truth. I don’t see my work as simple work. I appreciate it.”


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Jody McVeigh, Editor-in-Chief