EXCLUSIVE: Vertical Entertainment has acquired North American rights to The 24th, a period drama based on true events from Oscar-winning BlacKkKlansman co-writer Kevin Willmott. The pic, which was slated to premiere at SXSW before the festival was shut down in the early days of the coronavirus pandemic, will now get a VOD/digital release on August 21.
Willmott produced, directed and co-wrote the script with Empire alum Trai Byers, who stars alongside Bashir Salahuddin and Aja Naomi King. Jordan Fudge, Alexandra Milchan, Willmott and Byers are producers. The 24th was fully financed by Fudge’s New Slate Ventures, which produced with EMJAG.
The release date is significant, timed to the anniversary of the Houston Riot of 1917, the heart of the movie’s story. Set in the early months of World War I, it recounts how 156 soldiers of the Third Battalion of the all-Black 24th Infantry Regiment rioted after clashing with the Houston Police Department. Four soldiers and 16 civilians were killed. The soldiers were court-martialed on mutiny charges; 19 were executed, 41 were given life sentences.
Mo McRae, Tosin Morohunfola, Mykelti Williamson and Thomas Haden Church also star.
“I’m excited The 24th has found a great home with Vertical Entertainment,” Willmott said. “I look forward to the film reaching audiences and I hope the film can help us all understand our history and the current reality a little better.”
Willmott most recently reteamed with his BlacKkKlansman director Spike Lee as a co-writer on Da 5 Bloods for Netflix.
The 24th deal was negotiated by Peter Jarowey and Josh Spector at Vertical with CAA Media Finance on behalf of the filmmakers.
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