8 items from 2016
Examining the dangerous aftermath of racially charged shootings in a small Southern town, Shots Fired is a dramatic new event series that is a “why done it?” and a “who done it?” From Gina Prince-Bythewood (“Beyond the Lights,” “The Secret Life of Bees,” “Love & Basketball”) and Reggie Rock Bythewood (“Beyond the Lights,” “Notorious”), the 10-hour event series is an explosive look at the criminal justice system. When an African-American police officer kills an unarmed white college student, a small town in North Carolina is turned upside-down. Before the town has a chance to grapple with this tragedy, the neglected murder of an African-American teen is brought to light, re-opening wounds that threaten to tear the town apart. Leading »
- Amie Cranswick
Set against the antebellum South, The Birth Of A Nation follows Nat Turner, a literate slave and preacher, whose financially strained owner, Samuel Turner, accepts an offer to use Nat’s preaching to subdue unruly slaves. As he witnesses countless atrocities – against himself and his fellow slaves – Nat orchestrates an uprising in the hopes of leading his people to freedom.
In his Sundance Film Festival review, The Hollywood Reporter’s Todd McCarthy says the film, “offers up more than enough in terms of intelligence, insight, historical research and religious nuance to not at all be considered a missed opportunity. Far more of the essentials made it into the film than not; its makers’ dedication and minute attention are constantly felt, and the subject matter is still rare enough onscreen as to be welcome and needed, »
- Michelle McCue
NBC confirmed the new panelists for the show’s 11th season in the fall on Friday evening.
“The musical expertise and energy these two incredibly talented women will bring to the show is remarkable,” said Paul Telegdy, NBC’s president of alternative and late-night programming. “We’re thrilled that they’ll be joining Adam and Blake in what we know will be a magical 11th season.”
Cyrus and Keys will join “Voice” mainstays Adam Levine and Blake Shelton when the show revs up its winter cycle in September. Williams and Aguilera may well be back for future editions of “Voice” as the show has a history of bringing coaches back, with an alumni roster that includes Usher, Shakira, Gwen Stefani and CeeLo Green.
- Daniel Holloway
Setting up shop at Fox Searchlight, the feature film is an adaptation of Roxane Gay’s debut novel, itself a white-knuckle ride that revolves around the kidnapping of a Haitian-American woman. Prince-Bythewood, best known for helming Beyond the Lights – which incidentally starred Mbatha-Raw – and The Secret Life of Bees, will co-write the adaptation, flanked by producers Michael De Luca, Mindy Schultheis and Michael Hanel.
Published in 2014, Gay’s gripping thriller “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, meanwhile, is currently serving as executive producer on Fox’s Shots Fired TV series, where she partners with husband, »
- Michael Briers
Jasmine Burke caught the acting bug at a young age. Having been a part of films such as The Secret Life of Bees and Van Wilder 3, the Atlanta-born starlet has now embarked on the exciting journey of starring in her first-ever TV series, Bounce TV's Saints and Sinners, a show that centers around power, deceit, corruption and murder. "I'm excited for everyone to see Saints and Sinners. I'm telling you, it's a dynamic series," the actress, who plays the role of Dr. Christie Johnson, tells People. "For this to be my first series that's coming out and for this to »
- Christina Dugan, @Christina_Dugan
Stephan James has been cast in Fox’s racially charged event series “Shots Fired,” Variety has learned.
The “Selma” and “Race” star — who plays Jesse Owens in the latter film, which is currently in theaters — will star opposite Sanaa Lathan in the project, which explores racial tensions and police shootings. James has been cast in the lead role of a special prosecutor named Preston.
Inspired by recent events that have sparked outrage and the Black Lives Matter movement across the country, “Shots Fired” examines the dangerous aftermath of racially charged shootings in a small town in Tennessee.
Lathan will star as an expert investigator who digs into the cases, alongside a special prosecutor (James) sent to the town by the Department of Justice. The pair must navigate the media attention, public debate and the social unrest that comes with such volatile cases, as they seek justice before the divided town erupts. »
- Elizabeth Wagmeister
Maybe he thrilled you as the brilliant Henry Lowe in 2007's The Great Debaters, or commanded your attention as Jimmy Grant, the emotional center of 2012's Arbitrage. Or, you might've lusted after him as Kaz, the police officer steaming up the screen with Gugu Mbatha-Raw in Beyond the Lights. Chances are, you know Nate Parker for his incredible onscreen presence. Wait till you hear what he's been doing behind the scenes. Parker, 36, just added a few ambitious new skills to his résumé as the star, writer and director of The Birth of a Nation, winner of the 2016 Sundance Film Festival's audience and jury top prizes. »
- Alynda Wheat, @AlyndaWheat
It’s no secret that the continued influx of Georgia–based film and television productions is creating more and more local job opportunities. For those not already actively working within the industry, however, finding these jobs can be a daunting task. Whether you’re looking to be in front of the camera or you’re more comfortable behind the scenes, Cinema South Expo offers numerous panels featuring a wide range of industry experts at Open Rivers Film Academy inside the Pinewood Atlanta Studios in Fayetteville, Ga. Jan. 30, 10 a.m.–5 p.m. (early entry at 9 a.m. for military veterans). Georgia native Jasmine Burke (pictured above) of Jasmine Burke Productions is an actor and award-winning filmmaker who has appeared in “The Secret Life of Bees,” “The Vampire Diaries,” “Skinned,” and other productions for screens big and small. She’ll be hosting a panel called Getting the Audition Right for aspiring actors. »
8 items from 2016
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