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Cinematographer Cybel Martin Will Make Feature Directing Debut w/ Vampire Story 'Black as Night'

by Tambay A. Obenson
July 11, 2014 2:58 PM
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Cybel Martin - whose instructive and entertaining words of wisdom on all things cinematography, that many of you have read and appreciate on this blog - will be making her directorial with "Black As Night," described as an urban vampire story centered around a 15 year old girl living in the South Bronx.

Penned by screenwriter Sherman Payne, whose thriller script "Furlough" was sold to David Linde’s Lava Bear Films and producer Brian Witten ("Chernobyl Diaries"), last year, the story's synopsis reads:

"Girls from the South Bronx never obsessed over 'Twilight.' If they did, maybe 15 year-old Shawna would have a better idea how to defend her neighborhood; a vampire invasion threatens to consume the whole South Bronx. When her mother is turned into a vampire (and accidentally killed by the sunlight), Shawna sets off on a revenge-driven adventure to stop the problem at its source. Along the way, she picks up an unlikely team of vampire hunters: her drama-queen BFF, an Upper East Side prep-school socialite, and her handsome bad boy neighborhood crush, who has motives of his own. Though Shawna will need all the outside help she can get, it won’t be until she finds self- acceptance that she can truly confront the vampire threat, and her life, head-on."

The thriller will be produced by Kishori Rajan and Jamund Washington through their new Ten on 5 Productions shingle, whose growing slate focuses on commercially-minded features with lead roles for people of color. 

A 2015 production start date is expected.

"I jumped at the chance to direct 'Black As Night.' All the elements were there for me to create a world that fascinates me but rarely see. The script was at times nerve shattering, hilarious and empowering," said Cybel Martin.

Worth noting, both screenwriter Sherman Payne and co-producer Jamund Washington are black filmmakers, and the cast will be led by black actors.

Ten on 5 Productions is also producing Anthony Onah's (twin brother to Julius Onah) debut feature, "Dara Ju" (based on his award-wining short film), which will star Aml Ameen. 

This is certainly very exciting on all fronts!! Long time readers will be well aware of how much we long for smart genre films from black filmmakers, with black characters at the center. 

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  • Dankwa Brooks | July 14, 2014 5:55 PMReply

    CONGRATULATIONS CYBEL! Godspeed on your film!

    Now I'm wondering who the cinematographer will be or if you'll be doing a "Soderbergh". LOL. Lokking forward to it!

  • AV | July 14, 2014 7:16 AMReply

    Congrats Cybel!! You rock!!!

  • M M | July 13, 2014 9:19 PMReply

    Sounds a bit like Attack The Block, but with vampires. A bit formulaic, if you ask me.

  • Erick | July 12, 2014 4:29 PMReply

    Great idea I always said we need more black scifi films

  • maria | July 12, 2014 10:22 AMReply

    Nice, congrats Kishori!

  • Shak | July 11, 2014 4:59 PMReply

    YES!!!! Congratulations Cybel. (If you need a "Bronx" consultant, you know how to reach me. ) Yay!

  • DJ | July 11, 2014 4:34 PMReply

    "Sherman Payne and co-producer Jamund Washington are black filmmakers…"

    Also, both CU film grads. Too bad this is on the heels of Spike's vampire homage. If his doesn't get distribution, and/or bomb, well...

  • troublemaker | July 11, 2014 4:06 PMReply

    Congrats Cybel! I'm happy that you're doing a movie in a genre that has a very huge following but not enough black representations! I wish you all the best and I'm looking forward to support your project!

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