Tag: “Selma”

Ava DuVernay to Write and Direct Limited Series About Central Park Five at Netflix

Ava DuVernay (photo via Variety.com)

by Elizabeth Wagmeister via Variety.com

Ava DuVernay is continuing her relationship with Netflix, bringing a limited series about the Central Park Five case to the streaming giant. Netflix has greenlit the five-part scripted series for a 2019 debut. DuVernay created the project and will write and direct all five installments.

Participant Media, Tribeca Productions and Harpo Films are behind the limited series with Oprah Winfrey, Jeff Skoll, Jonathan King, Jane Rosenthal and Berry Welsh serving as executive producers alongside DuVernay. The project is the latest collaboration for Winfrey and DuVernay who worked together on the Oscar-winning “Selma” and OWN’s “Queen Sugar.”

For DuVernay, the project marks a return to Netflix for the filmmaker who wrote and directed the platform’s 2016 documentary “13th.” “I had an extraordinary experience working with Netflix on ’13th’ and am overjoyed to continue this exploration of the criminal justice system as a narrative project with Cindy Holland and the team there,” said DuVernay. “The story of the men known as Central Park Five has riveted me for more than two decades. In their journey, we witness five innocent young men of color who were met with injustice at every turn — from coerced confessions to unjust incarceration to public calls for their execution by the man who would go on to be the President of the United States.”

Based on the true story of the notorious Central Park Five case, each part of the limited series will focus on one of the five teenagers from Harlem — Antron McCray, Kevin Richardson, Yusef Salaam, Raymond Santana and Korey Wise — who were wrongly convicted of raping Trisha Meili in Central Park. The series will span from the spring of 1989, when each were first questioned about the incident, to 2014 when they were exonerated and a settlement was reached with the city of New York.

To read full article, go to: Central Park Five Limited Series From Ava DuVernay Greenlit at Netflix | Variety

“Belle” Director Amma Asante’s New Film “A United Kingdom” to Open BFI London Film Festival

A UNITED KINGDOM Movie
“A United Kingdom” starring David Oyewolo and Rosamund Pike, directed by Amma Asante (COURTESY OF PATHE)

article by Leo Barraclough via Variety.com

Director Amma Asante’s third feature “A United Kingdom,” which stars “Selma’s” David Oyelowo and “Gone Girl’s” Rosamund Pike, will open the 60th BFI London Film Festival on Oct. 5.

Asante won the BAFTA for most promising newcomer for her debut “A Way of Life,” and followed that with “Belle,” which won best actress for Gugu Mbatha-Raw at the British Independent Film Awards.

“A United Kingdom” tells the true story of Seretse Khama, King of Bechuanaland (modern-day Botswana), and Ruth Williams, the London office worker he married in 1947 in the face of fierce opposition from their families and the British and South African governments.

The LFF gala screening, which will be the film’s European premiere, will be attended by Asante, Oyelowo and Pike. There will be a live cinecast from the London event and simultaneous screenings in movie theaters across the U.K.

The film’s screenplay is penned by Guy Hibbert (“Eye in the Sky”), based on the book “Color Bar” by Susan Williams. Oyelowo plays Khama, with Pike as his future wife, Williams. Other cast members include Jack Davenport (“Pirates of the Caribbean”), Terry Pheto (“Mandela”), Tom Felton (“Harry Potter”), Arnold Oceng (“Adulthood”), Jack Lowden (“’71”) and Laura Carmichael (“Downton Abbey”).

Clare Stewart, London Film Festival director, said: “Amma Asante’s ‘A United Kingdom’ is testament to a defiant and enduring love story that also reveals a complex, painful chapter in British history. We are proud to be opening the 60th BFI London Film Festival with a film of such contemporary relevance, one that celebrates the triumph of love and intelligence over intolerance and oppression, and that confirms Asante as a distinctive and important British filmmaker.”

Asante commented: “It’s a great privilege that ‘A United Kingdom’ has been selected as the opening night film of the BFI London Film Festival. The festival means a lot to me personally, having showcased my first film, ‘A Way of Life,’ here and been honored with the U.K. Film Talent Award. I’m a proud Londoner, and in ‘A United Kingdom’ we’ve been able to film in some of the most beautiful parts of the city as well as in the wonderful landscapes of Botswana.”

The film is produced by Rick McCallum (“Star Wars”), Oyelowo, Justin Moore-Lewy, Brunson Green (“The Help”) and Charlie Mason. The film is executive produced by Pathé’s Cameron McCracken, BBC Films’ Christine Langan, the BFI’s Ben Roberts, Ingenious Media’s Eleanor Clark Windo and Guy Hibbert.

To read more, go to: http://variety.com/2016/film/global/amma-asante-a-united-kingdom-bfi-london-film-festival-1201800077/

Selma “Foot Soldiers” from 1965 Civil Rights Marches Receive The Congressional Gold Medal

Aided by Father James Robinson, Mrs. Coretta Scott King, widow of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., center, and John Lewis of the Voter Education Project, a crowd estimated by police at 5,000, march across the Edmund Pettus Bridge from Selma, Alabama Saturday, March 8, 1975. The march commemorated the decade since the violent struggle for voting rights began in 1965 with “Bloody Sunday” at the bridge as police tried to stop a march to Montgomery. (AP Photo)
Aided by Father James Robinson, Mrs. Coretta Scott King, widow of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., center, and John Lewis of the Voter Education Project, a crowd estimated by police at 5,000, march across the Edmund Pettus Bridge from Selma, Alabama Saturday, March 8, 1965. The march commemorated the decade since the violent struggle for voting rights began in 1965 with “Bloody Sunday” at the bridge as police tried to stop a march to Montgomery. (AP Photo)

article via newsone.com

On Wednesday, Congressional leaders honored the “Foot Soldiers” of the Selma to Montgomery Marches in 1965 with the nation’s highest civilian award, the Congressional Gold Medal.

Anecdotally, Paul Ryan – Speaker of the House of Representatives, who also spoke during the ceremony and praised the foot soldiers for their part in the passage of the Voting Rights Act of 1965 – will not act on a bill to restore the Voting Rights Act that was essentially gutted by the Supreme Court nearly two years ago.

The ceremony, held in the U.S. Capitol’s Emancipation Hall, featured speeches by Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ), Rep. John Lewis (D-GA), and Rev. Frederick D. Reese, the former president of the Dallas County Voters League.

Thursday morning, Congresswoman Terri Sewell (D-AL), who introduced the bill to honor the foot soldiers; Charles Mauldin, former president of the Student Movement; and Joyce O’Neal, a member of the Student Movement, joined Roland Martin on NewsOne Now to discuss the award.

Rep. Sewell told Martin, “Yesterday was about making sure this nation’s history is righting a wrong, they (the foot soldiers) should be given all of the credit [for] forcing this nation to live up to its ideals of equality and justice for all.”

Congresswoman Sewell continued, “I think it’s up to us, this generation and future generations, to continue the fight,”because there is so much more needed to be done to “strengthen the Voting Rights Act.”

In reflecting on yesterday’s ceremony, Mauldin thanked Congresswoman Sewell for introducing the bill and said, “This is probably the first time in about 51 years in my being involved in things that we’ve gotten recognition” from government officials.

He added, “We are certainly invited to the protests to demonstrate, but seldomly invited to the celebration. This is the first time that people like us have been invited to the celebration.”

To read more, go to: http://newsone.com/3359436/selma-foot-soldiers-receive-the-congressional-gold-medal/

British Actors Idris Elba and David Oyelowo Honored by Queen Elizabeth

idris-elba-david-oyelowo-12-31-2015
Idris Elba (l); David Oyelowo (r) PHOTO VIA EURWEB.COM

British actors Idris Elba and David Oyelowo received a high honor from their queen.

On Tuesday (December 29), both actors made Queen Elizabeth’s annual New Year’s honor list.  Elba, who received a Golden Globe nomination for his work in the Netflix original film “Beasts of No Nation” and BBC’s “Luther”, was humbled by the honor.

“Awards and honors come in all shapes and sizes and all as significant as the other. But this is beyond special as it comes from Queen and country, and I couldn’t be more proud for receiving this right now. What a year. On me head son!” Elba said in a statement.

Oyelowo was also honored for his services to drama, found the honor to be heartfelt. Long before his role as Dr. Martin Luther King in the Ava DuVernay directed film “Selma”, an 18-year-old Oyelowo received a grant from Prince Charles’ charity the Prince’s Trust, which allowed him to join a youth theater production his family couldn’t afford.

“To be honored by the Queen in this way having been aided by her son’s charity feels like a beautiful full-circle moment.”

article via eurweb.com

John Legend’s Scripted Drama “Underground” Releases First-Look Trailer (VIDEO)

WGN America just released a chilling first-look teaser for Underground, the upcoming original scripted series scheduled to debut early next year.  The drama takes center stage as plantation slaves band together in the fight of their lives for their families, their future … and most importantly, their freedom.

Hailing from Sony Pictures Television and Tribune Studios, Underground  was filmed in Baton Rouge, LA. John Legend and his production company are in charge of the score and soundtrack for Underground.

Legend most recently won an Oscar alongside rapper Common for Best Original Song “Glory” from Selma.

Jurnee Smollett-Bell, Jussie Smollett, Christopher Meloni, Aldis Hodge, Adina Porter, Alano Miller, and Mykelti Williamson round out the cast for the series.

UG_posters2_grid (002) - with logos

article via thegrio.com

Common Set to Produce Black Coming-Of-Age Drama For Showtime

'China: Through The Looking Glass' Costume Institute Benefit Gala - ArrivalsCommon has been acting for a while (“Selma”, “Now You See Me”, “Just Wright”, “Single Ladies”, “American Gangster”) , and now he’s starting to get in the game behind the scenes too. According to reports, Showtime picked up an untitled drama from Common, who will be producing a scripted drama with Lena Waithe, who is one of the producers of Dear White People. 

The show will be a coming-of-age drama that will explore the life of a young African-American male, in which simply growing up can be a matter of life and death. Waithe will write the script and executive produce the Fox 21 drama along with Common.

“The two creative forces behind the show, both hailing from Chicago’s South Side, give this pilot an unparalleled authenticity. Lena Waithe is an extremely fresh, talented young writer with a unique voice and a deeply thoughtful perspective into the world where she grew up. I immediately gravitated to her script, which is emotional, funny, tragic and relevant, all at once. And, we are so fortunate to have artist and visionary Common for his first producing project in scripted television,” said Showtime president David Nelson in a statement.

I get the feeling that this story will be loosely based on Common’s own life growing up in Chicago. It’s cool that cable networks are starting to get more on board with diversity in TV programming.

article by Starr Rhett Roque via hellobeautiful.com

David Oyelowo to Voice James Bond for Upcoming Audiobook “Trigger Mortis”

David Oyelowo attends the Variety Purpose Summit in Los Angeles, Calif. on June 25, 2015.
Paras Griffin–FilmMagicDavid Oyelowo attends the Variety Purpose Summit in Los Angeles, Calif. on June 25, 2015.

David Oyelowo announced Wednesday that he will join the long line of actors—from Roger Moore to Sean Connery to Pierce Brosnan to Daniel Craig—who have portrayed Ian Fleming’s legendary secret agent, James Bond.  But the role won’t require Oyelowo to don Bond’s dapper formalwear, as he’s booked not for a movie but an audiobook.

Oyelowo was asked by Fleming’s estate to voice Bond and other characters in the audiobook version of Trigger Mortis, a forthcoming novel by Anthony Horowitz commissioned by Fleming’s estate. The book, to be published Sept. 8, picks up two weeks after Goldfinger left off, in 1957, and reunites Bond with Pussy Galore.

Oyelowo, who has worked as an actor for more than 15 years, rose to fame for his depiction of Martin Luther King, Jr. in Ava DuVernay’s Selma, released in 2014. Though he won’t appear onscreen, he will be the first black actor to portray Bond. And as he is scheduled only for the audiobook, fans still hoping that those Idris Elba rumors might pan out need not feel threatened by the news—the Bond family is ever expanding.

article by Eliza Berman via time.com

NAACP Begins 860-Mile Justice March From Selma to Washington D.C.

459723514-members-of-the-naacp-and-their-supporters-start-out-for
On November 29, 2014 in Ferguson, Mo., members of the NAACP and their supporters began the first day of Journey for Justice, seven-day 120-mile march from the Canfield Green apartments where Michael Brown was killed to the Governor’s mansion in Jefferson City, Mo. (SCOTT OLSON/GETTY IMAGES)

NAACP leaders on Saturday kicked off a 40-day “Journey for Justice” march across the South, beginning with a rally in Selma, Ala., a city that played a pivotal role in the the 1960s civil rights movement, according to The Associated Press.

The goal of the march is to “call attention to the issue of racial injustice in modern America,” the report says. The trek will span across eastern seaboard states before ending in Washington, D.C., on Sept. 15.

The event began on the Edmund Pettus Bridge, where peaceful marchers were attacked by police in 1965 spurring the passage of the Voting Rights Act, which was signed into law 50 years ago this week. In November, the group led a march from Ferguson, Mo., to Jefferson City, Mo., in protest after Darren Wilson, a white police officer, was not indicted in the death of Michael Brown, an unarmed black teen.

“We know we can do the distance because our lives, our votes, our jobs and our schools matter,” said Cornell William Brooks, president and chief executive of the NAACP, reports Reuters.

“Let us march on, let us march on, let us march on till victory is won,” said Brooks, as he led about 200 marchers across the bride on the first leg of the journey, Reuters writes.

article by Lynette Holloway via theroot.com

John Legend to Handle Music For WGN Slavery Drama “Underground”

WGN America says Legend and his production company will be in charge of the score and soundtrack for “Underground.”

The drama is in production in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. It stars Aldis Hodge as the organizer of an escape effort by plantation slaves. Jurnee Smollett-Bell and Christopher Meloni co-star.

WGN America told a Television Critics Association meeting Wednesday that Legend’s company will also serve as an executive producer for the drama.

In a statement, Legend says he believes the story of people brave enough to risk everything for freedom will be inspirational.

He and rapper Common won an Oscar this year for writing and performing the song “Glory” from the civil rights movie “Selma.”

“Underground” will air in 2016 on WGN America.

article via blackamericaweb.com

Emory University School of Law to Name an Endowed Chair in Honor of John Lewis

Civil Rights leader and Congressman John Lewis (Photo via black
Civil Rights leader and Congressman John Lewis (Photo via history.com)

The Emory University School of Law has announced that it is establishing an endowed chair to honor civil rights legend and Georgia Congressman John Lewis. The John Lewis Chair in Civil Rights and Social Justice will be funded by an anonymous $1.5 million donation. The law school will raise an additional $500,000 to fully fund the professorship.

Robert Shapiro, dean of the law school, said that “this gift will allow us to perform a nationwide search and name a professor who will further scholarship on the issues of civil rights and social justice. Through this chair, we are honored to recognize Congressman’s Lewis’ historical achievements in these vital areas.

John Lewis was a keynote speaker at the 1963 March on Washington. As chair of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee, Lewis was beaten on the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma, Alabama, on Bloody Sunday in March 1965. He has served his Atlanta district in Congress since 1987.

The anonymous donor stated that “John Lewis exemplifies the values of courage, commitment, dignity, humanity, fairness and equal opportunity that were and are the hallmarks of the movement. Congressman Lewis is an inspiration to us as he continues to speak out against injustice and to fight for equality and civil rights. Atlanta holds an important place in the history of civil rights in the U.S. and John Lewis is a central figure in that history; we hope that a professorship at Emory Law School in his name will in some small way help to continue the good and great work that he has done these last 50 years.”

article via jbhe.com