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Who Will Pick Up Spike Lee's Kickstarter Horror Comedy 'Da Sweet Blood of Jesus'?

Photo of Anne Thompson By Anne Thompson | Thompson on Hollywood August 21, 2014 at 3:28PM

Following Spike Lee's June 22 debut of his Kickstarter project "Da Sweet Blood of Jesus" as the closing night at the American Black Film Festival, where it earned middling reviews, Lee is in talks to find the right distributor. Where is the horror comedy going to end up? Lee has screened the film for the major specialty players, most of whom have so far passed on its commercial prospects, so it may wind up with a smaller distrib.
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Da Sweet Blood of Jesus
'Da Sweet Blood of Jesus'
'Da Sweet Blood of Jesus'

It's been a busy year for Spike Lee. He celebrated the 25th anniversary of "Do the Right Thing." (My interview with producer Jon Kilik here.) He's the go-to guy for shooting stage and concert shows. He directed "Mike Tyson: Undisputed Truth," which HBO aired last fall as well as comedy Store documentary "Jerrod Carmichael: Love at the Store," which HBO will air on October 4. He shot "Amex Unstaged Pharrell Williams Live at the Apollo," "Katt Williams: Priceless" and "Go Brasil Go!" He also helped to create (uncredited) opening sequences for "The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon."

A year ago Lee raised a total of $1,418,910 on Kickstarter for horror comedy "Da Sweet Blood of Jesus," his remake of Bill Gunn's "Ganja & Hess," starring Stephen Tyrone Williams, Zaraah Abrahams, Rami Malek, and Elvis Nolasco in a "movie about human beings who are addicted to blood," which Lee refuses to call a vampire flick. (Full disclosure: I donated $40 and was sent a Spike Lee Joint t-shirt.) Following the movie's June 22 debut as the closing night film at the American Black Film Festival, where it earned middling reviews, Lee is in talks to find the right distributor.

Where is it going to end up? Lee has screened the film for the major specialty players, who have so far passed on its commercial prospects. So it's likely to land at one of the smaller distribs --and may need some P & A backing from Lee, who remains the film's strongest sales tool. Gravitas, which gave Lee's Brooklyn tale "Red Hook Summer" a limited theatrical release (I liked it more than most critics), is an interested suitor.


This article is related to: Da Sweet Blood of Jesus, Spike Lee, Horror Comedy


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Thompson on Hollywood

Born and raised in Manhattan, Anne Thompson grew up going to the Thalia and The New Yorker and wound up at grad Cinema Studies at NYU. She worked at United Artists and Film Comment before heading west as that magazine's west coast editor. She wrote for the LA Weekly, Sight and Sound, Empire, The New York Times and Entertainment Weekly before serving as West Coast Editor of Premiere. She wrote for The Washington Post, The London Observer, Wired, More, and Vanity Fair, and did staff stints at The Hollywood Reporter and Variety. She eventually took her blog Thompson on Hollywood to Indiewire. She taught film criticism at USC Critical Studies, and continues to host the fall semester of “Sneak Previews” for UCLA Extension.