Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom (December 18)
Tensions and temperatures rise over the course of an afternoon recording session in 1920s Chicago as a band of musicians await trailblazing performer, the legendary “Mother of the Blues,” Ma Rainey (Academy Award winner Viola Davis). Late to the session, the fearless, fiery Ma engages in a battle of wills with her white manager and producer over control of her music.
As the band waits in the studio’s claustrophobic rehearsal room, ambitious trumpeter Levee (Chadwick Boseman) — who has an eye for Ma’s girlfriend and is determined to stake his own claim on the music industry — spurs his fellow musicians into an eruption of stories revealing truths that will forever change the course of their lives.
Adapted from two-time Pulitzer Prize winner August Wilson’s play, Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom celebrates the transformative power of the blues and the artists who refuse to let society’s prejudices dictate their worth.
Directed by George C. Wolfe and adapted for the screen by Ruben Santiago-Hudson, the film is produced by Fences Oscar nominees Denzel Washington and Todd Black. Colman Domingo, Glynn Turman, Michael Potts, Taylour Paige and Dusan Brown co-star alongside GRAMMY winner Branford Marsalis’ score.
Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom opened at Broadway’s Cort Theatre in October 1984, playing 276 performances before closing in June 1985. Featuring direction by Lloyd Richards, the play cast Theresa Merritt in the title role. The remainder of the company featured John Carpenter, Lou Criscuolo, Scott Davenport-Richards, Charles S. Dutton, Leonard Jackson, Robert Judd, Christopher Loomis, Aleta Mitchell, and Joe Senaca.
Nominated for a Tony Award, Ma Rainey‘s won the 1984 New York Drama Critics Circle Award. The play was revived in February 2003 starring Whoopi Goldberg and Charles S. Dutton.
Social Distance (October 15)
Set in the initial months of the health crisis, Social Distance is an eight-part anthology series that showcases the power of the human spirit in the face of uncertainty and isolation. Each standalone episode is told through a virtual lens and captures the unique emotional experience of being forced apart by circumstance and having no choice but to communicate remotely and rely on technology to maintain any sense of connection.
Through these varied and deeply human stories, Social Distance aims to provide some much-needed catharsis during a tumultuous time while also capturing a snapshot of this singular moment in history.
Conceived, cast and executed entirely remotely, Social Distance is created and executive-produced by showrunner Hilary Weisman Graham and executive-produced by Tara Herrmann, Blake McCormick and Jenji Kohan. Diego Velasco serves as co-executive producer.
The cast includes Danielle Brooks, Mike Colter, Marsha Stephanie Blake, Oscar Nunez, Asante Blackk, Peter Scanavino, Becky Ann Baker, Dylan Baker, Guillermo Diaz, Okieriete Onaodowan, Max Jenkins, Brian Jordan Alvarez, Lovie Simone, Lachlan Watson and more.
His House (October 30)
Written and directed by Remi Weekes, His House premiered at the Sundance International Film Festival on January 27, 2020. The film stars Ṣọpẹ́ Dìrísù, Wunmi Mosaku and Matt Smith.
In His House, after making a harrowing escape from war-torn South Sudan, a young refugee couple struggle to adjust to their new life in a small English town that has an unspeakable evil lurking beneath the surface.
The movie was produced by New Regency’s Arnon Milchan; Vertigo Entertainment’s Roy Lee; Martin Gentles and Edward King of Starchild Pictures; and Aidan Elliott; in association with BBC.
The executive producers include New Regency’s Yariv Milchan, Michael Schaefer and Natalie Lehman; BBC Films Eva Yates; Stuart Manashil and Steven Schneider.