Queen of the South co-producer and Queen Sugar producer Tina Mabry has signed on to direct and co-write Pretty Big at Warner Bros. and HBO Max, a project which Mike Jackson of Get Lifted Film Co., Poppy Hanks and Jelani Johnson of Macro and Kristina Sorensen will produce.
Pretty Big is based on the true life story of Akira Armstrong and the origin of her Pretty Big Movement dance company. In the movie, a young plus-sized woman takes matters into her own hands when she keeps getting rejected from dance companies, despite her obvious talent. When she starts her own company for bodies of all shapes, sizes, and colors, she sets out to win a prestigious competition and prove to the dance community that anyone can dance at an elite level. This was a competitive package bid on by several studios. Dan Steele (Gossip Girl, Faking It) is co-writing.
EPs are John Legend and Ty Stiklorius from Get Lifted Film Co. and Charles D. King and James F. Lopez for Macro, and Akira
Armstrong. MacKenzie Marlowe will serve as associate producer for Get Lifted Film Co. Cate Adams and Diamond McNeil are overseeing for Warner Bros.
Get Lifted’s Jackson said, “Our mission at Get Lifted Film Co. is to continue telling compelling stories of people that are often marginalized, and we are so thrilled to be a part of bringing Akira’s journey to the world with our friends at Macro and the incredible creative team led by Tina Mabry. It’s a true gift!”
“The best part about this experience has been getting to know Akira and bring her story to a new medium, everyone can relate to having a dream and having to build their own opportunities,” said Sorensen. “I’m also beyond thrilled to be working with this talented team on this special story!”
“Akira’s story captures the essence of why we’re in this business. Our experience working alongside Dan, Tina, Kristina and Get Lifted has only amplified our desire to bring this story to the screen. This is a project that speaks to Macro’s commitment to telling compelling, commercial stories through a culturally authentic lens,” said Macro’s Hanks and Johnson.
Mabry write and directed the movie Mississippi Damned. She recently rewrote and is attached to direct The Supremes at Earl’s All-You-Can-Eat at Searchlight, as well as Tigerbelles, the Wilma Rudolph story at Lionsgate. She also did a significant (but uncredited) rewrite on the feature film The Hate U Give. In TV, Mabry recently worked on ABC’s Women of the Movement and directed Macro/TNT’s Beast Mode pilot. Her vast episodic directing credits include HBO’s Insecure, Netflix’s Dear White People, FX’s Pose, Netflix’s Grand Army and The Politician. She won the DGA Award for Outstanding Directorial Achievement in Children’s Programs for Amazon’s American Girl and was selected as one of eight female directors for the Women In Film’s initiative ReFrame Rise.
Steele wrote over a 100 episodes between such series as Gossip Girl and Hart of Dixie. He also co-produced MTV’s Faking It and The Donors for EP Kevin Hart. He currently has a co-written feature screenplay in development at Netflix with HartBeat producing. He is an alumnus of the WB Writers Program, a finalist in the Eugene O’Neill National Playwrights Conference, and an Austin Film Festival winner.
Get Lifted is repped by WME and Nina Shaw, Jean Tanaka and Kevin Garlitz of Del, Shaw, Moonves, Tanaka, Finklestein and Lezcano. Sorensen is represented by Jesse Nord at The Nord Group. Mabry is represented by WME, M88 and attorney Tara Kole. Steele is represented by Lit Entertainment Group and attorney Ryan Nord at The Nord Group.
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