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2012 New Projects We're Excited About #8: "Vipaka" (Forest Whitaker, Anthony Mackie, Sanaa Lathan)

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by Tambay A. Obenson
May 23, 2012 4:31 PM
1 Comment
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If you missed numbers 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6 and 7 in this series (Andrew Dosunmu's Ma'GeorgeShola Lynch's Free AngelaByron Hurt's Soul Food JunkiesDyana Gaye's Des EtoilesRodney Evans' The Happy SadRZA's The Man With The iron Fists and Julius Onah's The Girl Is In Trouble) click HEREHERE, HEREHEREHEREHERE and HERE.

Here's number 8...

A project we first profiled in August 2011, but have heard very little about since; so you folks may actually have forgotten all about it.

Vipaka - the voodoo-themed psychological thriller that Forest WhitakerAnthony MackieSanaa LathanNicole Ari Parker and Mike Epps are starring in, shot in New OrleansLouisiana, last summer/fall, and, as far as I know, is complete - at least, principal photography should be done.

As a recap, Vipaka centers on 2 enemies who eventually go head-to-head in a match that will "test each man's belief in what they're certain is the truth."

French/Lebanese director Philippe Caland (Boxing Helena) is directing.

Described as a horror/thriller, the film's official synopsis reads:

An earnest life-coach/author, Thomas Carter, is mysteriously abducted by a deranged client, Angel Sanchez, who delves into Thomas' teachings and uses his spiritual messages of Karma - action and reaction (Vipaka), against him to terrorize him and his family for their past sins.

Mackie plays Thomas, and Whitaker plays Angel. Lathan plays Mackie's wife. 

No info yet on who Parker plays; as for Mike Epps' character, we learned from our last post on this, in September, while doing press for Contagion, Lathan revealed that her character is caught in a love triangle that includes her husband (Mackie) and Mike Epps’ character, who plays his brother.

She added that Epps is doing "a really dark, complicated edgy role," and that "people are gonna be so blown away by him in this movie."

But don't expect any voodoo or witchcraft, as lathan also noted in that interview, saying that "there’s definitely some freaky shit in it. It will keep people on the edge of their seats. You’ll be jumping and screaming, but it’s also really deep and really layered. I’m not interested in doing a straight horror film. I’m excited because there are good moments in Vipaka that I don’t think people have seen Black people do on screen lately."

So why be excited for Vipaka? You mean other than what's already been revealed here with regards to its cast, characters, story, etc?

That's enough for me. On paper, it all reads well, and I'm hoping that the execution is just as engaging. 

As I said earlier, little to nothing new has been reported about this project since last fall (just the above photo). IMDBPro lists it as a 2012 release, so I expect to see it later this year; I won't be surprised if it debuts at an international fall film festival like Toronto.

I'm hoping we can get an update on this from Whitaker's camp (his company is producing the movie), which I'll of course share here.

By the way, the word "Vipaka" is a Buddhist term meaning the result of karma.

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1 Comment

  • Ade | May 25, 2012 12:13 AMReply

    I was wondering about the status of VIPAKA.
    Nicole Ari Parker plays(Angel Sanchez) Whitaker's character's estranged wife.
    Buddhism not Voodooism tenets drive this psychological thriller. It's title, VIPAKA, alludes to that. Perhaps because it was set in Louisiana and features Black actors in all the leading roles, many thought Voodoo was involved. RIPPLE EFFECT , a previous Whitaker/Caland collaboration, is echoed in VIPAKA.
    I was cast as (Marina Sanchez) , Whitaker's mother.
    Looking forward to VIPAKA'S release. It's a psychological , southern gothic thriller featuring a
    fine Black cast.

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