An S&A interview with Nigerian American writer/director/producer Olatunde Osunsanmi is long overdue, and I'll get to work on setting something up with him.
I say that because he's a black director working within the mainstream, in genres we rarely see black filmmakers creating in, who just seems to be able to get his films made and distributed.
He's made 3 feature films since 2005, and is now on his way to his 4th. That's 4 feature films in about 8 years, or roughly 1 every 2 years. Few filmmakers (specifically writer/directors, as opposed to directors for hire) can claim those kinds of stats. And even fewer (a lot fewer) of African descent - unless your name is Tyler Perry.
His first film was a low-budget ($150,000) horror movie titled The Cavern (2005), which Sony Pictures released around the world. His second film was a sci-fi thriller called The Fourth Kind (2009), which Milla Jovovich starred in. The budget for that was significantly higher at $10 million. It grossed almost $50 million worldwide.
And his most recent film, a thriller titled Evidence (2013) was produced by the same production team that backed the critically-acclaimed Drive (Nicholas Winding Refn's film) and was recently picked up by Image Entertainment in a deal that includes theatrical, home video, television and digital rights, with a theatrical release planned for this summer.
That film co-stars rising British star Aml Ameen, and veteran actor Harry Lennix, alongside Radha Mitchell.
The story follows the investigation of a brutal massacre at an abandoned gas station. The Police arrive at the crime scene to find evidence of the victims' electronic devices - camcorder, cell phones and flipcams, which the detective must then sort through, analyze and piece together to solve the crime and identify the killer.
So clearly he loves his genre cinema, as noted!
And it doesn't stop...
This afternoon, The Wrap reports that Osunsanmi has already sold his next project, a sci-fi film titled Eden, which has been picked up by Gold Circle Films - the production company behind horror/thriller fare like White Noise, The Haunting in Connecticut, ATM and others, including a few comedies like My Big Fat Greek Wedding, which is their biggest hit to date.
Plot details on Eden are currently being kept under-wraps, although it's said that the story will involve aliens.
Osunsanmi wrote the script, and will obviously direct as well.
No word on casting or production start date yet.
If you'd like to take a look at his earlier work, The Fourth Kind (starring Milla Jovovich) is streaming on Netflix right now. I personally didn't care for it, but you might, so give it a look for yourselves.
He's also executive producer on fellow Nigerian American writer/director Olu Odebunmi's feature thriller titled Mzungu, which explores an American traveler’s unexpected nightmare while vacationing in Africa - specifically Kenya.
They successfully raised over $40,000 last fall to jump-start production on the film.