EXCLUSIVE: Roc-A-Fella Records co-founder Kareem “Biggs” Burke has signed on to two Tribeca Film Festival titles as Executive Producer, Madeleine Sacklers feature O.G. and her documentary Its a Hard Truth Aint It, both of which were shot in Indianas maximum-security Pendleton Correctional Facility.
O.G. which premieres tonight at 7PM EST at the SVA2 stars Jeffrey Wright as a security prison inmate who is on the cusp of being sprung until unfortunate complications occur when he meets a younger inmate, reminiscent of himself. You can watch a clip of the movie above.
“In prison you can be surrounded by thousands of people but yet feel lonely. I think Jeffrey Wright brought that feeling to life with his performance. This movie shows the inner workings of prison politics and the repercussion of the crimes committed,” says Burke about O.G.
Its a Hard Truth Aint It, which premieres Wednesday April 24 at SVA 2,provides a glimpse at the stories of 13 men incarcerated at Pendleton who Sackler teaches filmmaking to, providing them with a platform to tell their own stories about their hardened lives.
“Madeleine Sackler hit the nail on the head by letting the inmates show vulnerability by addressing their crimes and the life they lived that brought them to prison by making wrong decisions. Im hopeful that this will spark debate and discussions that will not only cause the government to be more compassionate but also divert people from making the same mistakes that may land them in prison,” said Burke about Hard Truth.
Both movies mark the first time that a film and doc were shot at a Level 4 facility with real prisoners. Built in 1923, Pendleton is most famous as the only prison that John Dillinger never escaped from. Deadline exclusively broke the news about Sackler making both movies.
Burke is a Harlem native who started Roc-A-Fella Records with Jay-Z and Damon Dash in 1995. Burke started the clothing line Rocawear under the empire in addition to launching the careers of such music artists as Kanye West. Burkes current enterprises include a film division, the fashion brands Fourth of November, Reasonable Doubt, and the luxury line ReDo96 which also lives as a special design unit.
“We are thrilled to have Biggs joining the teams for both O.G. and Its a Hard Truth Aint It as we prepare for the films to go out into the world. These are critical and complicated subject matters that impact millions of men, women, and children in our country, and our commitment is to telling the stories truthfully and with sensitivity to all involved. Biggs work in the incarceration space combined with his entrepreneurial expertise is unparalleled, and we are so fortunate to have such a positive, committed partner,” says Sackler.
Smokehouse Pictures George Clooney and Grant Heslov were originally on board as producers of the features, but have since departed.
‘Antebellum’ has a ‘Get Out’ vibe, but doesn’t live up to its twist
“Antebellum” is built around a provocative twist, and it’s a good one — as well as one that definite..
“Antebellum” is built around a provocative twist, and it’s a good one — as well as one that definitely shouldn’t be spoiled even a little. Once that revelation is absorbed, however, the movie becomes less distinctive and inspired, reflecting an attempt to tap into the zeitgeist that made “Get Out” a breakthrough, without the same ability to pay off the premise.
Originally destined for a theatrical run, the movie hits digital platforms trumpeting a “Get Out” pedigree in its marketing campaign, since there’s an overlap among the producing teams.
More directly, the film marks the directing debut of Gerard Bush + Christopher Renz, who have championed social-justice issues through their advertising work. The opening script features a quote from author William Faulkner, whose intent will eventually become clearer: “The past is never dead. It’s not even past.”
If that sounds like a timely means of drawing a line from the horrors of slavery to the racism of today, you’ve come to the right place.
The story begins on a plantation, where the brutal overseers carry out grisly punishments against those tilling the fields. A few have just tried to escape, led by Veronica (Janelle Monae), and they pay a heavy price for their resistance, which does nothing to curb her defiance.
Also written by Bush + Renz, the script take too long before revealing what makes “Antebellum” different, but the middle portion — a “The Twilight Zone”-like phase when it’s hard to be sure exactly what’s going on — is actually the film’s strongest. (Even the trailer arguably gives away too much, so the less one knows, the better.)
The final stretch, by contrast, veers into more familiar thriller territory, and feels especially rushed toward the end, leaving behind a host of nagging, unanswered questions. That provides food for thought, but it’s also what separates the movie from something like “Get Out,” which deftly fleshed out its horror underpinnings.
Although the filmmakers (in a taped message) expressed disappointment that the movie wasn’t making its debut in theaters, in a strange way, the on-demand format somewhat works in its favor. In the press notes, Bush says the goal was “to force the audience to look at the real-life horror of racism through the lens of film horror. We’re landing in the middle of the very conversations that we hoped ‘Antebellum’ would spur.”
“Antebellum” should add to that discussion, so mission accomplished on that level. Monae is also quite good in her first leading film role (she did previously star in the series “Homecoming’s” second season), but otherwise, most of the characters remain underdeveloped.