EXCLUSIVE: Dear White People producers Julia Lebedev and Angel Lopez and writer/director Justin Simien are reteaming under Lebedev’s Code Red Productions to bring his next independent project to the screen. Filmmakers are keeping the new title and plot details under wraps. Dear White People, which premiered and was critically praised at the 2014 Sundance Film Festival, was released by Roadside Attractions, and went on to win the 2015 Independent Spirit Awards for Best First Screenplay. The new untitled project is a psychological horror film with a satirical streak. They plan to go before the cameras in 2016.
Code Red has put out high quality work. The production company’s In Her Place won the audience award at the Los Angeles Film Festival for best short film and its I am Thalante tied for best documentary feature film. Both are being shown at the 2015 Los Angeles Film Festival. The company wants to do three-to-five films a year with budgets of $20M.
“On the heels of Dear White People, Angel and I have developed an incredibly productive and positive working relationship so we thought the best next-step was to partner together,” said Lebedev about the re-launch of Code Red Productions. “I am excited to be working with Angel to find and promote new and diverse filmmaker voices, and to teaming up with like-minded producers who share our enthusiasm for original storytelling. And of course, there is no better way to start this next chapter for Code Red than by continuing our relationship with Justin, who embodies this mission for us.”
Lebedev also produced The Good Doctor, starring Orlando Bloom, Riley Keough, and Taraji P. Henson, as well as the UK thriller Honour. She executive produced the 2014 Toronto Film Festival animated project The Prophet, inspired by Kahlil Gibran’s beloved classic book and produced by Salma Hayek, set to release summer 2015.
Prior to launching Code Red Productions in 2009, Lebedev worked on the development team at Participant Media alongside Lopez, fellow producer of Dear White People. He began his career at Focus Features, where he spent time in both marketing and production. There, he worked on campaigns for award winning films such as Brokeback Mountain, The Constant Gardener and Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind. While at Participant, he contributed to The Soloist and The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel.
He also produced original content for Participant’s funded YouTube channel, TakePart TV and wrote and directed for the web series, Ins Msgs, also from Simien. He most recently produced the 2015 Los Angeles Film Festival short film In Her Place with Lebedev.