Tag: Gina Prince-Bythewood

Gina Prince-Bythewood to Direct and Gugu Mbatha-Raw to Star in Adaptation of Roxane Gay Novel “An Untamed State”

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Director Gina Prince-Bythewood and actor Gugu Mbatha-Raw (photo via deadline.com)

article by Mike Fleming Jr. via deadline.com

Gina Prince-Bythewood will direct and Gugu Mbatha-Raw will star in An Untamed State, an adaptation of Roxane Gay‘s debut novel that the director will co-write with the author for Fox Searchlight. Michael De Luca will produce through his Michael De Luca Productions banner with Prince-Bythewood.

an untamed stateThe novel tells the powerful, unflinching story of a Haitian-American woman kidnapped for ransom in front of her husband and child. The novel explores the privilege that made her a target and the strength she must draw on to survive and reclaim her life. Prince-Bythewood is best known for directing Love and BasketballBeyond the Lights, and The Secret Life of Bees, and with husband, Reggie Rock Bythewood, she is executive producing the 10-hour event series Shots Fired for Fox, Imagine Television and Undisputed Cinema. Mbatha-Raw most recently starred in Concussion and Belle, and she teamed with Prince-Bythewood on Beyond the Lights.

To read more, go to: http://deadline.com/2016/03/gugu-mbatha-raw-to-star-gina-prince-bythewood-to-helm-an-untamed-state-1201724469/

How Four Black Women in Entertainment Created a Film Scholarship to Foster New Voices

Four Sistersarticle by Paula Rogo via essence.com

When Dehanza Rogers first heard of the Four Sisters Endowed Scholarship, she wondered at the meaning of the name.

“I mean what sisters are we talking about?” she remembers thinking to herself. “It could have meant any number of things.”

Then a first-year MFA student at the UCLA School of Theater Film and Television, the 2014 graduate applied for the scholarship to help fund her thesis film years late.

But when she saw the names behind the scholarship, she knew what sistas they were actually talking about: Sara Finney-Johnson, Mara Brock Akil, Gina Prince-Bythewood and Felicia D. Henderson. From Being Mary Jane and Moesha to Love & Basketball and Soul Food: The Series, these four women have created some of the most important talking points in Black television and film lexicon.

Indeed, for decades, they have consistently been telling stories of the Black experience, navigating an industry that is notorious as much for its lack of diversity in storytelling as its storytellers. Each had her share of pushback and difficulties. And it was from these experiences that the idea —- to endow a scholarship towards filmmakers wanting to create African-American themed projects  — was born. And the four friends agreed to endow it in a place that molds future industry influencers:  film school.

Continue reading “How Four Black Women in Entertainment Created a Film Scholarship to Foster New Voices”

Gina Prince-Bythewood and Sanaa Lathan Reunite for Racially-Charged Police Shooting TV Project at Fox

Sanaa Lathan
Sanaa Lathan (PHOTO COURTESY OF FOX)

Fox is developing a new event series revolving around a racially-motivated police shooting.  The project hails from “Love & Basketball” writer/director Gina Prince-Bythewood and will star Sanaa Lathan, who starred in the 2000 film.

The untitled event series examines the dangerous aftermath of a police shooting when an African-American cop kills a white teen in Tennessee. Lathan (“The Perfect Guy”) will play an expert investigator who digs into the case, alongside a yet-to-be-cast special prosecutor sent to the town by the Department of Justice. The duo must navigate the media attention, public debate and social unrest that accompany such a volatile case, as they seek justice before the divided town erupts into a race war.

The announcement of the project comes amidst of an uproar of recent media attention on racially-motivated police attacks, most notably the Trayvon Martin case, in which the African American teenager was fatally shot by George Zimmerman. The Fox project, however, features a race-flipped scenario with a white teen being killed by a black cop.

Prince-Bythewood, along with Reggie Rock Bythewood, will serve as writers and exec producers on the 20th Century Fox project, which will be directed by Prince-Bythewood. Brian Grazer and Francie Calfo will also exec produce. Prince-Bythewood’s Undisputed Cinema and Imagine Television will also produce.

The event series reunites Lathan and Gina Prince-Bythewood, who worked together “Love & Basketball.” Prince-Bythewood and Bythewood also worked together on “Beyond the Lights.”

article by Elizabeth Wagmeister via Variety.com

21st Annual African-American Film Marketplace and S.E. Manly Short Film Showcase to Feature Gina Prince-Bythewood & Michael Schultz

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(Hollywood, CA) – The Black Hollywood Education and Resource Center (BHERC) hosts its 21st Annual African American Film Marketplace and S.E. Manly Short Film Showcase January 16-18, 2015 at Raleigh Studios, 5300 Melrose Avenue, Hollywood, California 90038.

Presenting 52 short films, youth films, documentaries and animated shorts, featuring over 45 Filmmakers from all over the country, Q&A after selected blocks of films, and an evening with famed director Michael Schultz and special surprise guest filmmakers.

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On Friday, January 16, 2015 at 7:30 p.m. at the Opening Night Reception, BHERC will host a conversation with Schultz as it presents the best BHERC independent short filmmakers of 2014.

Schultz, an alumni of Princeton University, the Negro Ensemble Company, and an inductee into the Black Filmmakers Hall of Fame, is best known for his direction of “Cooley High,” “Car Wash” and “Which Way Is Up?”, and most recently “Woman Thou Art Loosed.”  Some of his episodic television direction includes “Arrow,” “Single Ladies” and “Black-ish” to name a few.

Gina Prince-Bythewood (Writer/Producer/Director) wrote and directed the widely-acclaimed feature film “Love & Basketball,”  which premiered at the 2000 Sundance Film Festival. Prince-Bythewood won an Independent Spirit Award for Best First Screenplay and a Humanitas Prize for her work on the film.

She followed that success with the HBO film “Disappearing Acts.”  In 2008, she wrote and directed the celebrated adaptation of the best-selling novel, “The Secret Life of Bees.” The all-star cast included Dakota Fanning, Queen Latifah, Paul Bettany, Jennifer Hudson, Sophie Okonedo and Alicia Keys. The film won two People’s Choice Awards and two NAACP Image Awards.gina prince-bythewood

Her third feature, “Beyond the Lights,” was released on Nov. 14, 2014. The love story set in the music world, stars Gugu Mbatha-Raw, Nate Parker, Minnie Driver and Danny Glover. It received rave reviews and landed on a number of top critics Best of 2014 lists.

Prince-Bythewood studied at UCLA Film School, where she received the Gene Reynolds Scholarship for Directing and the Ray Stark Memorial Scholarship for Outstanding Undergraduate.  Upon her graduation, she was hired as a writer on the television series “A Different World.”  She continued to write and produce for network television on series such as “Felicity,” “South Central,” and “Sweet Justice”  before making the transition to directing.

Continue reading “21st Annual African-American Film Marketplace and S.E. Manly Short Film Showcase to Feature Gina Prince-Bythewood & Michael Schultz”

Filmmaker Gina Prince-Bythewood Issues Urgent Open Letter; Support Black Film #BeyondTheLights

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Writer-Producer-Director Gina Prince-Bythewood issues Open Letter about her film Beyond The Lights. ” We need positive images to counter the negative portrayals we see every day.”

After the first preview audience screening of “Love & Basketball” a 17 year-old Black boy said, “The movie taught me how to love.” Fourteen years later, after the first preview audience screening of “beyond the lights,” a 17 year-old Black boy said, “I didn’t really believe in hope and love before, but this movie changed me.” That is why I make movies. Movies have power. Power to impact society and the choices we make. I want to entertain, but I also want to say something to the world.

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I love movies. And I dig a great love story; the kind that wrecks me, then builds me back up and leaves me inspired. I write what I want to see. I wanted to make a love story with two people of color in the lead. Not a romantic comedy. A love story. “Beyond the Lights” took incredible fight to get made. Four years of writing, and two years of overcoming “no.” Every studio balked. Twice. But I kept fighting. What gave me the courage was “Love & Basketball.” Every studio turned down that film, too. But I never gave up because I believed in it with my whole heart and soul.

I had the same passion for this story. People ask me all the time if I feel discriminated against as a black female director and I actually don’t. I get offered a ton of stuff. But I like to direct what I’ve written. I feel what’s discriminated against are my choices, which is to focus on people of color as real people. Those are the films that rarely get made and those are the films that take a lot more fight. But I’m up for the fight, because if we don’t fight for this we stay invisible. I want us to look up on the screen and see ourselves reflected beautifully. I want us to look up on screen and learn how to love the right way. I want us to look up on screen and see a black man who is strong, sexy, complicated, and real. I want us to look up on screen and see a black woman fighting to find her voice, find her authentic self and be brave enough to live an authentic life. I want us to look up on screen and be inspired to want more for ourselves, to want to love, and to love ourselves.

There is a perception within our community and the world that black people don’t love each other. That we don’t fight for each other. That perception is so dangerous. We need positive images to counter the negative portrayals we see every day. And positive doesn’t mean perfect. Perfect is boring. I want real. But more than anything, “beyond the lights” is a really good movie experience that I don’t want you to miss. It is the kind of movie that should be shared. That collective explosive reaction to character, story, and music is fun. The advanced screenings have been like revivals. Audiences break into applause during the movie. Phenomenal performances. Insane chemistry between Gugu Mbatha-Raw and Nate Parker.  Dope music.  Beautifully complex mother/daughter and father/son relationships that are rarely explored with people of color.  You will laugh. You may cry.  You will feel.  And you may be changed.  I hope you check out the film over this holiday weekend.  It is a time to be grateful.  It is time to be inspired. It is a time to fight.

Gina Prince-Bythewood