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Find Out What Projects Dee Rees, Barry Jenkins & Terence Nance Are Currently Working On...

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by Tambay A. Obenson
September 5, 2013 4:32 PM
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Dee Rees, Barry Jenkins, Terence Nance

Manohla Dargis and A. O. Scott, film critics for The New York Times, published a list of profiles of young filmmakers they believe are worth watching.

Long-time readers of this blog should recognize a minimum of 3 (or more) of those names, given that they are filmmakers we've been telling you to watch over the years, since the launch of this blog in 2009: Dee Rees (Pariah), Barry Jenkins (Medicine For Melancholy) and Terence Nance (An Oversimplification of Her Beauty).

What I really wanted to draw your attention to are what each profile states each filmmaker is currently working on, or, at least, thinking about/wanting to/hopes to work on, whether now, or at some point in the future. 

First, Dee Rees: She has the rights to the Philip K. Dick novel Martian Time-Slip, given to her by Dick's estate, basically for free, which centers on a human colony on Mars, amongst other things. Also she's working on an adaptation of Toni Morrison’s 2012 novel Home, which tells the story of a 24-year-old Korean War veteran, and his reluctant journey home. Apparently, Toni Morrison read the first draft of Dee Rees' adaptation, and gave her notes that "left Ms. Rees “devastated,”" as the New York Times' profile states. Also, there's the crime thriller Bolo, which we already know and have written about, initially set up at Focus Features, but they've backed out of it (it wasn't big enough for them, the profile says), and is now being independently produced. Thandie Newton is apparently attached, in a film that centers on a Memphis police officer who's also a black lesbian. We also already know about her teaming with Viola Davis for an HBO series. And finally, she's penning a biopic also for HBO, although she was mum on details regarding that project. But she's busy, so that's certainly a good thing!

Second, Barry Jenkins: We've highlighted 1 or two projects of his that we know of that have been at some stage of development since his lauded debut, Medicine For Melancholy. Projects that I'm reading about for the first time include one with Breaking Bad producer Mark Johnson, which follows a group of black radicals from the 1960s through the present day. He's also completed the screenplay he collaborated on with playwright Tarrell McCraney (we told you about that pairing a while ago; glad to know that progress is being made). I especially like this response from Barry when asked to talk about his identity as a filmmaker: 

I’m a black filmmaker. I must be. When I think of characters, or rather, when characters come to me — as the best ones do, outside of conscious thought — overwhelmingly they are black. And when I introduce these characters and films into the production framework of this industry, the funding and distribution “restrictions” I’m met with as a result of those characters’ blackness would remind me, if it weren’t clear already, that I am indeed black.

Indeed Barry. Indeed.

And finally, third, Terence Nance: Fresh off the theatrical release of his feature film directorial debut, via Variance Films (Stateside), what's next for Mr Nance? We already know about his Tribeca All Access (TAACreative Promise Award wining script, The Lobbyists, about a con-man with no past and a former CIA agent who join forces to “lobby” politicians by blackmailing them into voting for progressive legislation. Terence calls it a surrealist political thriller. He's also working on a documentary about skin bleaching which he'll shoot in every country in which people use products to lighten their skin - I guess he'll be busy for a while on that one then. He also shared his excitement over the idea of directing a video game. 

“I want to direct a computer game. I know it will be difficult, because I do not and have never played video games, but I have a great idea for one that I must make.

Oh yeah, he's working on a musical too!

I think I speak for most of us when I say that I'm genuinely a fan of these filmmakers, and I'm rooting for their success. Whatever each does eventually do next, we'll certainly be watching, writing and talking, as always!

Read the New York Times' full piece HERE.

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7 Comments

  • tolly devlin | September 6, 2013 6:44 PMReply

    Thanks for the link Tambay. Good piece by the Times, but you should have mentioned the short videos that accompanied the interviews with these three & some of the other featured film makers.

  • ALM | September 6, 2013 3:22 PMReply

    Congrats to these directors for working on so many interesting projects.

  • Mashadi Matabane | September 6, 2013 10:37 AMReply

    Loved Terrence Nance's quotation, "I guess my big goal is to make art about my culture that inspires more people within my culture to make art about our culture.”

  • Donella | September 6, 2013 8:59 AMReply

    Beloved suffered because the screenwriters couldn't, maybe for sentimental reasons, make the literary transition to visual. Things clearly understood and explained and resonant in the book, made no sense onscreen. I loved the book and read it several times. When I saw the film, I recognized the intent, but also the lack of context for viewers.

    I'm not sure whether Morrison's inteference is a good or bad sign because I don't know the level of her unofficial involvement with the Beloved screenplay. If I were to guess, I would say that Oprah, as producer, likely allowed Morrison access to the screenplay.

    Also, Rees is an accomplished writer and filmmaker who trained with Spike Lee on Inside Man and the Katrina docs. I think she could be trusted with Home, which is relatively short and straight-forward (for a Morrison novel).

  • @JayTeeDee | September 5, 2013 7:39 PMReply

    I wonder what she meant by "devastating" if that was a good or a bad thing. However on the other hand any notes that you would receive from Toni Morrison probably would be devastating because of her powerful writing.

  • Dankwa Brooks | September 5, 2013 4:55 PMReply

    Oh that's an excellent quote from BARRY JENKINS as well.

  • Dankwa Brooks | September 5, 2013 4:50 PMReply

    I've been DYING for the next film from NORTHSTAR PICTURES (Dee's company) and have often bothered her on Twitter about where we can see the next one. LOL.

    Signed, Eagerly waiting for the next Dee Rees film.

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