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First Trailer For Slave-themed Drama 'Savannah' (Co-Starring Chiwetel Ejiofor) Arrives

by Tambay A. Obenson
July 11, 2013 1:25 PM
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Based on what's presented in the trailer below, this is not what I expected. I thought it would be something more akin to an interracial buddy drama, which told both of their stories equally. This instead looks like it's entirely one-sided, favoring the white man

One of seven 2013 slave-themed films that made my January list, Ketchup Entertainment acquired distribution rights to Savannah, the drama starring Jim Caviezel and Chiwetel Ejiofor, to release theatrically on August 23, and on DVD/VOD on September 24.

It could be quite a year for Chiwetel Ejiofor, thanks to the 3 feature films he stars in, scheduled for release in the next 7 to 8 months: 12 Years A Slave, Half Of A Yellow Sun (although a release date hasn't been announced yet) and Savannah, in which he also plays a slave, like in the aforementioned 12 Years A Slave.

Like the other 2 films, Savannah is also a work of historical fiction, based on real events, set during post-Civil War days, in which Caviezel stars as the real-life, “well-educated, eccentric, larger-than-life hunter” named Ward Allen, who develops a unique friendship with a freed slave named Christmas Moultrie, played by Ejiofor. 

The film is loosely based on a book by John Eugene Cay, Jr., titled, Ducks, Dogs and Friends, which tells the story of Christmas Moultrie (the last slave born on the historical Mulberry Grove Plantation, where the Cotton Gin was invented), who hunted on the Savannah River, together with Ward Allen, and his Chesapeake Bay Retrievers. 

This looks like it's instead more Ward Allen's story than Moultrie's. Although I should note that I haven't read the book, so it could be all about Moultrie anyway.

Annette Haywood-Carter directed from a screenplay she co-wrote with Kenneth F. Carter Jr.

Jaimie Alexander, Hal Holbrook, Sam Shepard, Bradley Whitford and Jack McBrayer round out the cast.

Here's the first trailer which just surfaced:

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More: Chiwetel Ejiofor

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  • sandra | July 15, 2013 2:39 PMReply

    Oops....totally jumped to conclusions in my haste to watch the trailer without reading the article. Thought it was 12 Years. Thank God!

  • thoughts | July 14, 2013 11:24 AMReply

    "Savannah" is not a movie about slavery. Chiwetel's character was a real guy named Christmas Moultrie who was, in fact, a freed slave, which made the relationship with Caviezel's character unique. The filmmakers made a point of not hitting the slave note very hard. It's a fact of the character's life. It is a realistic portrayal of a real relationship. The movie is about a man (Ward Allen) fighting to preserve a cherished way of life that is disappearing out from under him. Christmas Moultrie (Chiwetel) is his loyal friend. The cinematography and score are epic, reminiscent of "A River Runs Through It." "12 Years a Slave" IS a movie about slavery. Given Chiwetel's talent and discriminating taste, it is probably well worth seeing.

  • Donella | July 14, 2013 12:56 AMReply

    I believe 12 Years a Slave will be the better choice, if we're choosing, this year.

  • Katie | July 13, 2013 1:33 PMReply

    Annnnnd, I won't be watching this. SMH!!

    Lol @ the trailer resembling a Hallmark movie. It's so true, it does look like a hallmark movie.

  • CEB | July 13, 2013 9:30 AMReply

    It seems as though "Ducks Dogs and Friends" (1979) was formerly published as "Ward Allen Savannah River Market Hunter" which was published in 1959.

  • The Detroit Mixtape | July 12, 2013 1:15 PMReply

    What is this...the year of the slave? Why the sudden interest? Sigh. I won't complain. But if Hollywood is finally (decades late, but whatever) going to start examining the institution of slavery and the many human stories to be found there, they will have to do better than this.

  • -r- | July 11, 2013 10:54 PMReply

    not one word in the trailer... or gesture of individual significance... why was this even reviewed here?

  • slb | July 11, 2013 10:45 PMReply

    I can not find the words to describe how unbelievably boring this looks.

  • sandra | July 11, 2013 9:38 PMReply

    I was not expecting this. I thought Chiwetel was going to play a more prominent role. Disappointing trailer. At first, I thought the wrong trailer was playing.

  • Bison4Life | July 11, 2013 4:57 PMReply

    I'll pass .

  • Millie | July 11, 2013 2:48 PMReply

    I am in awe of Chiwetel so I'm a bit puzzled by this film choice. The trailer certainly comes off Hallmark Channel-ish. And I'm mad they couldn't give the brotha a proper moustache.

  • guest | July 11, 2013 11:28 PM

    Seriously. From a distance, it looked like Sammy Davis Jr in that photo.

  • Darkan | July 11, 2013 2:01 PMReply

    What in the blue blazes did I just watch. For a minute there I thought it was a YouTube spoof or something but now I realize its a Hallmark movie, isn't it?

  • donnadara | July 11, 2013 1:47 PMReply

    I have zero interest in seeing this. I'm going to see 12 years a slave because it is historical, but I am not a fan of this trend to make these "remember when white people had their foot on black necks" movies.

  • ScriptTease | July 11, 2013 4:13 PM

    Donna, I agree with you, however, I don't care to see either movie. I am so through with these types of film. Give it to me in a documentary, then I can watch em' all day long. I know enough about my history to know I don't want to vicariously live through it in a more dramatic format. Are these films being made for White entertainment, so they too can live vicariously through what it was like and what it would be like to live like their ancestors. Ugh. That still photo shot on Twelve Years a Slave with the white lady checking the mouth of the black female slave like some damn cattle.... I just can't get with this. The older I get the less tolerable of the ignorance of people, and these types of film. SMDH

  • Ojie | July 11, 2013 1:45 PMReply

    Looks like a tv film.

  • CC | July 15, 2013 4:56 PM

    DEDE, I believe you may have misinterpreted Scriptease's comment. I don't think her last sentence (on ignorance) was referring to the specific act of looking in a slave's mouth. I believe she was speaking to the mindset of those who owned slaves and thus used them as chattel.

    I could be wrong but I didn't read what you did.

  • DEDE | July 15, 2013 4:30 PM

    Sorry OJIE. My reply is meant for Scripttease.

  • Dede | July 15, 2013 4:27 PM

    What's so ignorant about the truth that we WERE treated as chattel? That attitude is why a lot of children don't know sht about the past. I understand being tired of Hollwood's version of the truth but there aren't that my films about the slave/Jim Crow experience like certain aspects of The Help. I, too, would like to see more modern stories. I agree that this movie doesn't look too great. I may check it out for Chiwetel. I'm looking forward to 12YAS. It's by an amazing directer with a fresh perspective and It's a true story. Can't cry about Perry when some of us won't support other black filmmakers.

  • Beth | July 11, 2013 1:37 PMReply

    this looks like a Hallmark Channel movie...

  • DEDE | July 15, 2013 4:28 PM


  • Ojie | July 11, 2013 1:46 PM

    I concur

  • DUDDI | July 11, 2013 1:32 PMReply

    Looks good... I'll give it a shot when it is released .

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