EXCLUSIVE: Beanie Mania filmmaker Yemisi Brookes, documentarian-cinematographer Christopher Frierson (DMX: Don’t Try to Understand), director-producer Lisa Cortés (All In: The Fight For Democracy), directors Morgan Pehme and Dan DiMauro (Get Me Roger Stone), Mark Laita’s YouTube channel Soft White Underbelly and The Speed Cubers filmmaker Sue Kim have signed with Black Box Management for representation.
As it announces its new signings, Black Box has two client projects at the 2022 Sundance Film Festival: the documentary TikTok, Boom from director Shalini Kantayya, which looks at the rise and cultural influence of the ubiquitous social media app, and John Patton Ford’s thriller Emily the Criminal, starring Aubrey Plaza.
“These new signs are part of the continued expansion of the Black Box family. From the start we have always been drawn to artists and creators who are disruptive and have something new to say,” said Black Box founders Mike Dill and Lowell Shapiro in a joint statement. “These creators mark the continued expression of our mission – to work as passionate advocates and biz dev partners, and empower our clients in the narrative and doc spaces, and on social platforms.”
Brookes’ latest documentary Beanie Mania, chronicling the biggest toy fad of the 1990s, is now available for streaming on HBO Max. The London-based filmmaker began her career as a shooter for MTV and subsequently became the youngest director to work in the BBC’s internationally renowned documentary department. She’s also previously directed the doc 2Pac: A Life in Pictures for the BBC, as well as on the HBO Max series Generation Hustle, also working with Netflix, Discovery, Jigsaw, October Films, Left/Right, brands such as Nike, Samsung, and Guinness, and talent including Snoop Dogg, Cardi B and Nelson Mandela.
Frierson was recently nominated for the Tribeca Film Festival’s Albert Mayles New Director Award for his work on his debut feature DMX: Don’t Try to Understand, which premiered recently on HBO. He has also helmed films including Dirty Pictures and The House I Live In, along with music videos and branded projects for bands like Arcade Fire and brands like the NFL. His feature work has also included producing and shooting the Eugene Jarecki-directed feature documentary The King, for which he received both Grammy and Emmy nominations for Best Music Film and Best Documentary respectively. In 2019, he created, produced, and hosted the award-winning documentary podcast FREAKNIK: A Discourse on a Paradise Lost.
Cortés is an Oscar-nominated and Emmy-winning filmmaker who in 2020 co-directed All In: The Fight For Democracy, which chronicled the battle against voter suppression waged by Stacey Abrams. Additional titles from the multihyphenate, who exec produced Lee Daniels’ Oscar-winning film Precious, include HBO’s Emmy winner The Apollo and The Remix: Hip Hop X Fashion. Cortés most recently directed Little Richard: I Am Everything, a documentary about the transgressive rock ‘n’ roll icon for CNN, and The Empire of Ebony, which explores the Black publishing powerhouse that forever changed American culture.
Pehme and DiMauro are the founders of Calliope Pictures, an independent film and television production company focused on documentaries and docuseries. The duo co-directed, wrote and produced the Netflix Original documentary, Get Me Roger Stone, which was also produced by Calliope cofounder Fredrik Stanton, and were also behind HBO Documentary Films’ The Swamp. The filmmakers will next direct Filthy: The Story of the Parental Advisory Warning Label for producer Rick Rubin.
Soft White Underbelly is a YouTube channel dedicated to telling the stories of people who society has forgotten or wants to forget. The channel sees Laita interview drug addicts, gang members, prostitutes, pimps, and victims of sexual assault out on Los Angeles’ Skid Row, and looks to create a wider understanding of humanity by helping a broader audience understand the circumstances and life experiences of the interviewees. While the channel had less than 500 subscribers in February of 2020, it is currently sitting at 2.58M.
Kim’s Netflix short The Speed Cubers was shortlisted for an Oscar this past year. The Korean-American director of short films, documentaries and non-fiction content is currently at work on her next feature documentary about the female free divers of Jeju Island for Apple TV+ and Malala. This year, she will also direct a six-episode series about the phenomenon of K-pop for Apple TV+.
Black Box is a talent management and content production company founded in 2010 by CAA veteran Dill and WME alum Shapiro, who originally met as teenagers at Northern California’s Skylake Yosemite Camp. The company represents a diverse roster of writers, directors, actors, comedians, documentarians and visual content creators across film, television, digital and branded content.
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