One day before its premiere at the Venice Film Festival, the new Ava DuVernay film “Origin” has been acquired by NEON with a release scheduled for later this year. The new film, DuVernay’s first feature as a director since 2018’s “A Wrinkle in Time,” will also screen at this year’s Toronto International Film Festival and joins a loaded NEON slate for 2023 that already includes Cannes Palme d’Or winner “Anatomy of a Fall” as well as “The Royal Hotel,” “La Chimera,” “Perfect Days,” and “Ferrari.”
DuVernay wrote, produced, and directed ‘Origin,’ which NEON noted “is inspired by the remarkable life and work of Pulitzer Prize winner Isabel Wilkerson as she pens her seminal book, ‘Caste: The Origin of Our Discontents.’ While grappling with tremendous personal tragedy, Isabel sets herself on a path of global investigation and discovery. Despite the colossal scope of her project, she finds beauty and bravery while crafting one of the defining American books of our time.”
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DuVernay cast Oscar nominee Aunjanue Ellis-Taylor as Wilkerson and surrounded the star with a cast of recognizable actors, including Jon Bernthal, Niecy Nash-Betts, Vera Farmiga, Audra McDonald, Nick Offerman, Blair Underwood, Finn Wittrock, Jasmine Cephas-Jones, and Connie Nielsen.
In a statement, NEON CEO and founder Tom Quinn said: “I’ve known Ava for a long time and my love and admiration for her and her work goes back further, even before ‘Middle of Nowhere.’ I’m truly humbled that it is this movie which has finally brought us together. She has always been a gifted storyteller, and her mastery of her craft shines through in this deeply personal and inspired adaptation of Isabel Wilkerson’s book, and dramatization of her remarkable life. ‘Origin’ proves once again that Ava remains one of the most groundbreaking and essential filmmakers of her generation.”
In addition to being the first Black woman to direct a Best Picture nominee (“Selma”) and the first Black woman to win Sundance’s Best Director award for her film “Middle of Nowhere,” DuVernay is the first Black woman in competition at the Venice Film Festival in the prestigious event’s 80-year history.
More information from the NEON press release: “Paul Garnes and DuVernay produced Origin under her ARRAY Filmworks banner. In addition to DuVernay and Garnes, the team of artists behind ‘Origin’ was led by cinematographer Matthew J. Lloyd, ASC, production designer Ina Mayhew, editor Spencer Averick A.C.E, composer Kris Bowers, costume designer Dominique Dawson, and casting director Aisha Coley.”
“Origin” will debut in theaters later this year. Watch the trailer below.
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