IndieWire: Erykah Badu and Roger Guenveur Smith are attached to star in an adaptation of author Thulani Davis' novel, Maker Of Saints, from a script adapted by Thulani Davis and Joy Lusco Kecken, and to be directed by Gary Grieg.
Painter iona rozeal brown (aka iona diamond) is also involved in the project; the film will feature her original paintings and drawings - done exclusively for the film.
There will also be a pre-film interactive element to the project, as multi-media content will be shared throughout this summer and fall of 2012, leading up to the film's production start.
The synopsis for the DCI Productions project (described as a timely political/art world thriller) reads:
The film opens August 26, 2008 in Washington DC. While the Democratic Convention is broadcast live from Denver, a brilliant young artist plunges to her death. Abusive relationships, media manipulation, and art world politics are experienced through the eyes and ears of a woman at her breaking point. There appears to be a rush to declare the death a suicide, a political statement, but her best friend knows better. Or does she? Bird Kincaid can’t sleep, plagued by nightmares -- vivid images of Alex Decauter falling seven stories -- as grief transforms into obsession. She is jealous of her friend’s meteoric rise to fame and horrified by her intense relationship with a powerful and threatening art world insider, Frank Burton. The film opens the doors to the inner workings of a world rarely seen, a thriving culture backstage, behind the backdrop of DC power and politics.
The novel that the film is based on is said to be inspired by the 1985 death of NYC artist Ana Mendieta (a Cuban American artist), for which her husband, sculptor Carl Andre, was widely deemed responsible, although he was never convicted.
The film's listed budget is $3.8 million, and according to the production company's website, $800,000 has been secured.
The project recently successfully raised over $62,000 via Kickstarter, although that money isn't going towards the film's budget; it'll be used for what they're calling the trans-media blast that will precede the release of the film; essentially, a $62,000 pre-release marketing/production campaign that, as noted above, will be shared online, from now, through the fall, leading up to the film's expected production start date, and eventual 2013 release.
In addition to Erykah Badu and Roger Guenveur Smith, Yasiin Bey (formerly known as Mos Def) is rumored to also be joining the cast.
Below, you'll find a video clip of author Thulani Davis and artist iona diamond, talking about the pre-release trans-media campaign.