EXCLUSIVE: Oscar- and Emmy-nominated director Lisa Cortés has signed a new first-look deal with Blue Ant Studios.
Running over two years with an option for more, the multiyear agreement will see the All In: The Fight For Democracy filmmaker collaborate with the Laura Michalchyshyn-led production company on a variety of scripted and unscripted projects.
With an emphasis on documentary, music, biography and history, the deal has already spawned an adaption of Clover Hope’s 2021 book The Motherlode: The 100+ Women Who Made Hip-Hop. Cortés and Blue Ant are in the process of developing a docuseries based on the book and innovators such as the legendary Roxanne Shanté, as well as Lauryn Hill, Missy Elliott and Lizzo. In addition, the new deal has seen development on the scripted drama No Retreat, focusing on female Black and Indigenous soldiers fighting in World War II, and the superhero-fueled Little Apple from Riley S. Wilson about a girl growing up in Harlem with some very special powers, to put it mildly.
There are several more projects coming out of the agreement that Cortés and BAS plan to roll out over the next few months.
“Throughout my career, I have been passionate about telling complex, powerful stories from new perspectives,” Cortés told Deadline. “Cortés Filmworks is committed to inclusivity, and to elevating talent often overlooked by the mainstream,” the seasoned filmmaker added. “This collaboration with a company leading in dynamic, impactful genre-spanning content is exciting, and I look forward to developing a diverse slate of scripted and unscripted projects with the Blue Ant team.”
“Lisa is a creative powerhouse who has an incredible eye for vibrant, visionary stories that are of our time, Blue Ant Studios Chief Creative Officer and Co-President Michalchyshyn said. “She brings curiosity and a wonderful range of talent to her projects,” the exec and Sundance vet added. “The impact of her work is inspiring. We are already developing several exciting projects together and are honored to collaborate with her to bring culturally relevant and talent-driven projects to life.”
Precious and The Apollo producer Cortés captured the zeitgeist in 2020 with the acclaimed documentary All In: The Fight For Democracy. Featuring now once again Georgia gubernatorial candidate and Star Trek: Discovery cameoer Stacey Abrams, the film co-directed by Liz Garbus spotlighting the fragility of American democracy opened in theaters as the election kicked into high gear and premiered on Amazon Prime Video on September 18, 2020.
Subsequently and outside this Blue Ant Studios deal, the Cortés Films CEO has been deep in production on Little Richard: I Am Everything, a docu on the true emperor of rock ‘n’ roll, and The Empire of Ebony, a documentary with One Story Up that examines the barrier-busting Black media empire and its sister publication Jet.
Holding that jam-packed dance card, Cortés is repped by Lowell Shapiro and Mike Dill of Black Box Management and Denise J. Brown. Blue Ant Studios is repped by UTA.
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