Sundance comedy Dear White People is one stop closer to coming to a theatre near you!
According to reports, Lionsgate and Roadside Attractions recently acquired all U.S. and Canadian rights to the satire, which premiered at the 2014 Sundance Film Festival and took home the Breakthrough Talent Award. The film, directed by young screenwriter Justin Simien, picked up notoriety after its concept trailer went went viral on YouTube and fans donated over $40,000 for the project’s production.
“Justin Simien is a funny, fresh and current voice with his finger on the Millennials’ pulse,” said Roadside’s co-president Howard Cohen. Variety reported the new “deal was negotiated by Marc Danon and Jean Chi on behalf of Lionsgate and Roadside Attractions, and by WME Global and attorney Irwin M. Rappaport.”
TeamBeautiful caught up with the film’s producer Lena Waithe a few months back. She said that Dear White People — which takes place at a fictional Ivy League university where a White fraternity throws an African American-themed party — is about personal identity in “post-racial” America.
“Not all Black movies are created equal and just because a film has Black people in it doesn’t necessarily mean it’s going to be good or represent Black folks. So the great thing about Dear White People is we already have an audience, this following that we built already. And the Black folks we are hearing from are saying that this actually represents me,” she shared. “Like this is actually something I can relate to. It’s not just a studio putting Black folks in it to get Black dollars.”
“This is a real experience,” she added.
Check out the trailer and Indiewire critic Eric Kohn’s review of the film, below.
Though its premise may invite easy comparison’s to Spike Lee’s “School Daze,” Simien’s script invokes the history of black representation onscreen from “Birth of a Nation” to Madea. The filmmaker engages with the resonance of race in pop culture as a motivating force that informs behavior. “You watched ‘Do the Right Thing’ in high school and want to prove you’re down,” Sam tells Gabe in a frustrated attempt to resist his advances. Others characterize her in similarly reductive terms. “You’re like Spike Lee and Oprah had some pissed-off baby.” At one point, Sam leads a protest of Tyler Perry movies at the local movie theater, yielding a hilarious statement about the angst surrounding mainstream depictions of black characters that the movie addresses with its very existence.
Check Out This Gallery