EXCLUSIVE : USC Originals has scored its first theatrical release, in association with Warner Bros., following Lightyear Entertainment 's acquisition of its film, Voodoo Macbeth . The company behind the Oscar-nominated Australian feature Tanna has slated the pic for release across the U.S. and Canada in October.
Based on a true story, Voodoo Macbeth follows a young Orson Welles (Jewell Wilson Bridges) and a group of committed artists as they set out to create what is now considered a landmark event in African-American theater history—the Negro Theatre Unit's revolutionary 1936 production of Macbeth .
With FDR's New Deal providing funding for the Federal Theatre Project, director Rose McClendon (Inger Tudor) convinces co-director John Houseman (Daniel Kuhlman) to help her bring Shakespeare's Macbeth to the Harlem community at the Lafayette Theater — with an all-Black cast. Well before Citizen Kane and War of the Worlds , they choose for their groundbreaking production a gifted but untested 20-year-old Welles, whose reimagined Haitian vision for the Scottish play is as daring and fresh as the cast and crew themselves, exchanging the witchcraft of the original for Caribbean voodoo.
The production was highly controversial, provoking heated protests from Harlemites who considered it exploitative, and by politicians who thought it subversive. Still, it debuted to packed audiences and was wildly successful, playing the Lafayette Theater for 10 weeks and then touring across America.
Overseen by USC professor and veteran producer John Watson ( Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves , Backdraft ), Voodoo Macbeth was made in unusual fashion for a narrative feature, boasting 10 directors including Dagmawi Abebe, Victor Alonso-Berbel, Hannah Bang, Christopher Beaton, Agazi Desta, Zoë Salnave, Roy Arwas, Tiffany K. Guillen, Ernesto Sandoval and Sabina Vajrača. Desta, Erica Sutherlin, Morgan Milender, Jennifer Frazin, Molly Miller, Amri Rigby, Joel David Santner and Chris Tarricone collaborated on the script, with June Schreiner, Jeremy Tardy, Ashli Haynes, Wrekless Watson, Gary McDonald and Hunter Bodine rounding out the cast.
Jason Phillips, Miles Alva and Xiaoyuan Xiao produced, with Tracy 'Twinkie' Byrd and Jenna Cavelle serving as EPs. With a run at over 20 festivals, Voodoo Macbeth has received 14 wins and three additional nominations, including Best Film, Best Production and Best Actress at the Harlem Film Festival; Best in Festival and the Audience Choice Award at the Sedona Film Festival; and Best Feature Film at Dances with Films.
"The process of making Voodoo Macbeth is unlike any other film in today's marketplace. We're certainly challenging the auteur theory, proving that a feature film doesn't need a single voice to create a cohesive vision," said producer Jason Phillips. "From a myriad of diverse backgrounds, the team represents an array of unique perspectives. Our communal approach is reflected throughout every step of the filmmaking process."
"This film beautifully shows us the seminal moment in Orson Welles' career, the first project that put him on the map," added Lightyear Entertainment's CEO, Arnie Holland. "At the same time, we shine a light on the phenomenal Rose McClendon, a strong Black woman who was a major player in the Harlem Renaissance, started Negro Theater Units in 11 American cities, and as the film portrays, was an essential mentor to Welles in his first important directing gig."
USC Originals represents a new approach to creating feature films and other creative commercial content under the auspices of the USC School of Cinematic Arts. Projects under the USC Originals banner engage teams of recent alumni and advanced students in working collaboratively on each part of their development and creation, with multiple writers, directors and producers working on the same film, as was the case with Voodoo Macbeth . The group-creators approach maximizes opportunities for diverse crews of both above- and below-the-line talent. While the aforementioned Watson is not an EP on Voodoo Macbeth , he serves in that capacity on most USC Originals.
In addition to Tanna , Holland's Lightyear has released The Etruscan Smile , starring Succession 's Brian Cox, along with such films as Maze , Jirga and Goldstone .
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‘Voodoo Macbeth’ Becomes First USC Originals Pic To Secure Theatrical Release As Lightyear Entertainment Picks Up Rights have 845 words, post on deadline.com at August 9, 2022. This is cached page on Movie News. If you want remove this page, please contact us.