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Photo still via 'Crown Heights' trailer on YouTube.

NFL Star-Turned-Actor Nnamdi Asomugha Snags Lead Role Alongside Tessa Thompson in Jazz Drama, 'Sylvie'

The Nigerian-American actor will also produce the project through his production company, iAm21 Entertainment.

Nnamdi Asomugha is certainly a silent move-maker in Hollywood. The spouse of Kerry Washington and former NFL defensive back is due to hit the big screen (again) alongside Tessa Thompson in a jazz era drama, Sylvie.


As The Hollywood Reporter describes the film:

Set in '50s and '60s New York City, the story follows Sylvie (Thompson) as she meets aspiring saxophonist Robert (Asomugha) when he takes a job at her father's record store in Harlem. After a summer romance that comes to an end, the two fatefully reconnect several years later and find that their feelings for each other have never disappeared.

Production on the project is underway in Los Angeles, as Sylvie will be produced under the Nigerian-American's production company, iAm21 Entertainment. Thompson is credited as the executive producer.

The film will be directed by Eugene Ashe, who also wrote the script. Declan Quinn of Rachel Getting Married and Leaving Las Vegas has been tapped as cinematographer.

For those unfamiliar with Asomugha's strides thus far in the film world, he produced and starred in Amazon's 2017 film Crown Heights—which also starred Lakeith Stanfield. The film was based on a podcast episode from This American Life that followed the story of Colin Warner, who was wrongfully convicted of murder and eventually was released due to his best friend Carl King dedicating his life to proving Warner's innocence.

You can also find Asomugha credited as the executive producer for documentary short Waiting for Hassana, as well as the executive producer of upcoming Harriet Tubman biopic Harriet, starring Cynthia Erivo.

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Image courtesy of Lula Ali Ismaïl

'Dhalinyaro' Is the Female Coming-of-Age Story Bringing Djibouti's Film Industry to Life

The must-watch film, from Lula Ali Ismaïl, paints a novel picture of Djibouti's capital city through the story of three friends.

If you're having a tough time recalling the last movie you watched from Djibouti, it's likely because you have never watched one before. With an almost non-existent film industry in the country, Lula Ali Ismaïl, tells a beautiful coming of age story of three young female Djiboutian teenagers at the cusp of womanhood. Dhalinyaro offers a never-before-seen view of Djibouti City as a stunning, dynamic city that blends modernity and tradition—a city in which the youth, like all youth everywhere, struggle to decide what their futures will look like. It's a beautiful story of friendship, family, dreams and love from a female filmmaker who wants to tell a "universal story of youth," but set in the country she loves—Djibouti.

The story revolves around the lives of three young friends from different socio-economic backgrounds, with completely varied attitudes towards life, but bound by a deep friendship. There is Asma, the conservative academic genius who dreams of going to medical school and hails from a modest family. Hibo, a rebellious, liberal, spoiled girl from a very wealthy family who learns to be a better friend as the film evolves and finally Deka. Deka is the binding force in the friendship, a brilliant though sometimes naïve teen who finds herself torn between her divorced mother's ambitions to give her a better life having saved up all her life for her to go to university abroad, and her own conviction that she wants to study and succeed in her own country.

Okayafrica contributor, Ciku Kimeria speaks to Ismaïl on her groundbreaking film, her hopes for the filmmaking industry and the universality of stories.

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