News Brief

Michael B. Jordan to Helm Film Adaptation of African Epic Fantasy Novel 'Black Leopard, Red Wolf'

The book, by Jamaican writer Marlon James, has been dubbed the "African Game of Thrones."

Black Panther star Michael B. Jordan, under his production imprint Outlier Society, is set to helm a film adaptation of Jamaican author Marlon James' newly released "African fantasy epic" Black Leopard, Red Wolf, reports The Hollywood Reporter.

The novel, which is the first in his Dark Star Trilogy, has been described as the "African Game of Thrones." The novel is set in a fantastical African country and draws on several mythological elements, and "decidedly adult themes," says the author.


Here's a full description via Shadow & Act:

Tracker is known far and wide for his skills as a hunter: "He has a nose," people say. Engaged to track down a mysterious boy who disappeared three years earlier, Tracker breaks his own rule of always working alone when he finds himself part of a group that comes together to search for the boy. The band is a hodgepodge, full of unusual characters with secrets of their own, including a shape-shifting man-animal known as Leopard.

As Tracker follows the boy's scent--from one ancient city to another; into dense forests and across deep rivers--he and the band are set upon by creatures intent on destroying them. As he struggles to survive, Tracker starts to wonder: Who, really, is this boy? Why has he been missing for so long? Why do so many people want to keep Tracker from finding him? And perhaps the most important questions of all: Who is telling the truth, and who is lying?

Drawing from African history and mythology and his own rich imagination, Marlon James has written a novel unlike anything that's come before it: a saga of breathtaking adventure that's also an ambitious, involving read. Defying categorization and full of unforgettable characters, Black Leopard, Red Wolf is both surprising and profound as it explores the fundamentals of truth, the limits of power, and our need to understand them both.

James is the award-winning author behind the critically-acclaimed 2014 novel A Brief History of Seven Killings. The author, who will executive produce the film adaptation, spoke with The New York Times recently about Black Leopard, Red Wolf and about the social power of fiction and epic fantasy during trying political times:

I've always thought we go back to the myths when we want answers. If you look at Tolkien, 'Lord of the Rings,' this came after World War I, they're trying to understand how human beings could have that depth of cruelty to other humans. ... The only way they could process it is to bring in mythical beasts.

Black Leopard, Red Wolf will be the first film production under Jordan's Outlier first-look film deal with Warner Bros. Jordan's Outlier Society, was one of the first production companies to adopt an inclusion-rider last year.

There's no word yet of whether Jordan will take on an acting role in the upcoming film, but we'll keep you posted as details arise.

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Courtesy of Cimarrón Productions

Cimarrón Is the Women-Led Film Production Company Empowering Afro-Colombians to Tell Their Own Stories

The "first Afro-Colombian film production company," is teaching filmmaking in Colombia's black communities in order to combat the lack of representation.

When filmmaker, activist, and cultural agent Heny Cuesta first started her career in Colombia, she noticed a severe lack of black creators in the industry. Cuesta, an Afro-Colombian originally from Cali, was the only Black woman in a room full of mestizo directors at a panel discussion at the International Film Festival in Cartagena de Indias (FICCI) in 2013.

"None of the filmmakers were black, but they were talking about ethnic content despite the fact that they didn't know the territory," says Cuesta. That scene shocked her, but it reflected the low number of movies directed by black directors in Colombia. In 2018, Colombia's film industry premiered 37 feature films and only one of them –Candelaria– was directed by a black director. It received many international awards.

The lack of blackness in Colombia's film industry goes far beyond studios, film festivals and production companies. Afro-Colombians make up almost 20 percent of the population but historically have had few opportunities to access education. Most black Colombians, who come from cities and towns along the Pacific and the Caribbean coasts, have been neglected and isolated due to a lack of infrastructure, as well as a lack of education and job opportunities.

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News Brief
Tiffany Haddish (left): Photo by David Livingston/Getty Images. Carmen Ejogo (right): Photo by Monica Schipper/FilmMagic.

Tiffany Haddish and Carmen Ejogo Have Joined the Cast of Netflix's 'Madam C.J. Walker' Limited Series

The series is set to premiere on the streaming platform in 2020.

A limited series following the story of black haircare maven Madam C.J. Walker from Netfilx is in the works, Deadline reports.

The show will portray, Sarah Breedlove, known as Madam C.J. Walker as the mogul who "overcame hostile turn-of-the-century America, epic rivalries, tumultuous marriages and family challenges to become America's first black, self-made female millionaire." Octavia Spencer will be taking on the lead role along with being one of the executive producers of the series.

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(Photo by Jack Vartoogian/Getty Images)

Blitz the Ambassador Named 2020 Guggenheim Fellow

The Ghanaian artist and filmmaker is among 175 "individuals who have demonstrated exceptional capacity for productive scholarship or exceptional creative ability in the arts."

Ghanaian filmmaker Blitz Bazawule, also known as Blitz the Ambassador has been named a 2020 Guggenheim fellow.

The musician, artist and director behind he critically acclaimed film The Burial of Kojo, announced the news via social media on Thursday, writing: "Super excited to announce I've been awarded the Guggenheim 2020 Fellowship. Truly grateful and inspired."

He is among 175 scholars, "appointed on the basis of prior achievement and exceptional promise, the successful candidates were chosen from a group of almost 3,000 applicants in the Foundation's ninety-sixth competition," says the Guggenheim.

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Culture
Photo by Sabelo Mkhabela.

6 South African Podcasts to Listen to During the Lockdown

Here are six South African podcasts worth listening to.

South Africa has been on lockdown for almost two weeks as a measure to curb the spread of the COVID-19 virus, and it looks like the period might just get extended. If you are one of those whose work can't be done from home, then you must have a lot of time in your hands. Below, we recommend six South African podcasts you can occupy yourself with and get empowered, entertained and informed.


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