EXCLUSIVE: Oscilloscope Laboratories is looking to bring more marginalized narratives to the spotlight with its recent acquisition of 1982’s Cane River. The indie film company co-founded by the Beastie Boys’ late, great Adam Yauch has acquired the North American rights to Horace B. Jenkins’s sole feature film, long considered lost following its 1982 premiere in New Orleans.
Jenkins died shortly after the premiere and the film never received full distribution, but Oscilloscope is about to remedy that. Newly remastered by IndieCollect and O-Scope, Cane River is set to open at the Brooklyn Academy of Music in New York on February 7, with national rollout to select locations to follow. A 4K version of the film was screened earlier this year in New York at the Museum of Modern Art’s “To Save and Project” film festival.
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The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences will premiere Cane River in Los Angeles on November 1 at the Linwood Dunn Theater. This will be the first time it will be screened in Los Angeles, with lead actors Tommye Myrick and Richard Romain on hand for a panel discussion.
Written, produced, and directed by the Emmy-winning documentarian Jenkins, Cane River is a racially-themed love story shot in Natchitoches Parish, a “free community of color” in Louisiana. In addition to stars Myrick and Romain the film features an entirely African American cast and crew. A budding, forbidden romance lays bare the tensions between two groups both descended from slaves but of disparate opportunity – the light-skinned, property-owning Creoles and the darker-skinned, more disenfranchised families of the area.
Though the film was championed by Richard Pryor, it largely disappeared after Jenkins’ death at 42, just months after Cane River‘s New Orleans premiere. Long believed lost, a negative of the film was discovered in 2014 in the vaults of New York’s storied DuArt film developing company.
The little-seen Cane River was largely financed by New Orleans’ prominent and wealthy African-American Rhodes family.
“We couldn’t be more thrilled to have the opportunity to bring Cane River to audiences. Better late than never,” said O-Scope’s Dan Berger. “This is a complex and subtle film that has a lot to say and despite the nearly four decades that have passed since it was made, it is as relevant today as it was in 1982.”
“I have so much respect for O-Scope; their collective eye is impeccable, so to have Horace’s film released in partnership with them is a dream,” said filmmaker Sacha Jenkins, Horace Jenkins’ son. “O-Scope’s founder, Adam Yauch, might still be on the job from the great beyond. I have a feeling he and my dad had a great conversation about Cane River finally getting its due.”
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