POPPY JASPER – “Queen of the Desert” expertly directed by Mary Ann Rotondi

When a lonely long-haul trucker picks up a young black hitchhiker, an encounter with the police forces them to push through their prejudices to find a connection as human beings.

In recent years we have been reading more about racism, police brutality and Black Lives Matter. I wish we could generate more positivity around race, sexuality, and gender equality. Mary Ann Rotondi director of QUEEN OF THE DESERT explores the theme of race and humanity. We follow the story of a young black hitchhiker and long-haul truck driver who are forced to connect as human beings. 

Mary Ann Rotondi who hails from Montana visited her home state and frequently encountered the Confederate flag, even though the state itself does not have a large black population or any meaningful connection to the Civil War. This visit back home inspired the creation of QUEEN OF THE DESERT. 

The film isn’t just brilliantly directed by Rotondi, the story will melt your heart and have you on edge. The film shares a story of two people who meet with pre-concieved ideas, without giving any spoilers it is magical to watch the two leads light up the screen of this brilliant short film!

Rotondi has done an outstanding job with this film, the passion and hard work shine through this film. Jade Radford (Chicago P.D., Orange is the New Black) is a very talented actress with a bright future ahead of her. She shines as Radford under Rotondi’s expert direction.

If you have the chance to watch this film, you will not regret it. You will feel there is good in everyone, and change is possible if you put emotion aside and listen to your heart. 

Writer/director Mary Ann Rotondi comes from a background as an award-winning producer, writer and director of documentary films and long-form documentary television. As a producer on CBS News’ 48 Hours, and NBC’s Dateline, she has won Emmy awards, a prestigious New York Press Club Award, a Clarion Award, and a Gracie award.  

Directed, produced and written by Mary Ann Rotondi, and produced with Jeanette Bonner, QUEEN OF THE DESERT stars Robert Eli (Madam Secretary, The Good Fight) and Jade Radford (Chicago P.D., Orange is the New Black). Award-winning cinematographer Luke Askelson shot the film (mostly in a parking lot outside of Denver), and the award-winning Emily Chao lovingly edited Luke’s stunning footage. Award-winning composer Simon TaufiQue scored QUEEN OF THE DESERT. 

Regina Mahmoud


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