Disney Branded Television has put into development From The Desk Of Zoe Washington, an original movie based on Janae Marks’ critically acclaimed book, executive produced by Kerry Washington’s Simpson Street Productions, and Gamechanger Films. The announcement was made Wednesday at Disney’s virtual TCA session.
From the Desk of Zoe Washington centers around middle-schooler and aspiring pastry chef Zoe, who sets her sights auditioning as a contestant on Food Network’s “Kids Bake Challenge” the summer before seventh grade. One day, Zoe receives a letter from her father, Marcus, who was sent to prison right before she was born. Because Zoe’s mom has never wanted her to have a relationship with Marcus, Zoe keeps the letter a secret. Zoe and her father soon begin corresponding regularly and Marcus shares his favorite songs with her and is supportive of her baking-competition dreams. When Marcus proclaims his innocence, Zoe is shocked: How could someone innocent end up in prison? With the help of her grandmother and her friend Trevor, Zoe begins to learn about systemic racism and how Marcus may have found himself unjustly imprisoned and embarks on a quest to set her biological father free.
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Simpson Street’s Washington and Pilar Savone will executive produce with Effie T. Brown (Dear White People) for Gamechanger Films.
“Marks’ book does a beautiful job of delicately weaving together the challenges and triumphs of life and the enormity of social injustice and systemic racism through the lens of an almost-seventh grader,” said Ayo Davis, executive vice president, Creative Development and Strategy, Disney Branded Television. “This is a perfect example of the type of premium storytelling that will not only entertain but will touch our audience on many levels as they see these topical issues reflected on the screen.”
Published in 2020, From the Desk of Zoe Washington is a 2020 Cybils Award winner, 2021 Edgar Award nominee, named a “Best Book of the Year” by Parents magazine, Book Riot, Kirkus Reviews, Booklist, and Chicago Public Library as well as the Boston Globe and NPR’s “100 Favorite Books for Young Readers.”
Washington is repped by CAA, Washington Square Art and Gretchen Rush. Marks is repped by ICM Partners and Alex Slater at Trident Media Group.
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