EXCLUSIVE: The Juneteenth comedy Block Party is set for a wide theatrical release via Iconic Events Releasing on June 8, also having been picked up for linear and streaming by BET and BET+ starting June 16.
The film from director Dawn Wilkinson centers on Keke McQueen (Antoinette Robertson), a recent Harvard grad who is eager to ditch her hometown of Grand Rapids, MI, for her dream job in Atlanta. But when Keke discovers that her once-super-sharp Grandma Janice (Academy Award nominee Margaret Avery) is showing early signs of dementia, she puts her career at stake in order to save Grandma’s renowned Juneteenth block party. In the process, Keke falls back in love with her hometown.
Block Party also stars Faizon Love, Luenell, Golden Brooks, Charlyne Yi, John Amos, Gary Anthony Williams, Brad William Henke, Birgundi Baker, Bill Cobbs, Terayle and Merle Dandridge. Branch Out Productions’ Lisa Mathis wrote the script and story with Krista Suh & Matt Allen. Sui and Allen also produced alongside Mathis for Branch Out Productions, with Robertson and Avery exec producing alongside Brooks, Dan Scheinkman, and Richard Alan Reid of BuzzFeed Studios. Seth Berkowitz of trailer house Workshop Creative is the film’s co-executive producer.
“We couldn’t be more excited to present the first Juneteenth family comedy that the world has ever seen,” Mathis told Deadline. “Block Party is the very embodiment of Branch Out’s inclusive mission and to see it in theaters and on streaming this June will be amazing. We see this as the first of many diverse films.”
Added Iconic’s CEO, Steve Bunnell: “All of us at Iconic fell in love with Block Party for its comedy, its authenticity, and the uplifting portrayal of life in a midwestern community. This film will be Iconic’s first World Premiere event. This film has never been seen anywhere else and we are proud that everyone across America can come together in theaters starting June 8 to share the love and joy of this important celebration.”
A fast-growing name in event cinema, Iconic Events Releasing brings live and filmed entertainment of all types to movie theaters as special limited engagement events, so that fans can watch their favorites on the big screen. Programming includes live pay-per-view sports, e-sports competitions, anime, music and comedy events, award-winning television specials, Broadway productions, holiday specials, family events, live events for album releases, rock concerts and music docs that celebrate diversity. The company has recently enjoyed successes with jeen-yuhs: A Kanye Trilogy, Bo Burnham: Inside, monthly marquee UFC fights and the 25th Anniversary of Selena, and upcoming has a varied slate including the North American premiere of Ryoma! The Prince of Tennis, as part of AX Cinema Nights, in a partnership with Anime Expo.
Branch Out Productions is a female- and Black-owned production company, founded by Lisa Mathis, Lisa Oliver-King and Andola Mathis, which is based out of Grand Rapids. In the past two years, it has also produced Mighty Oak and Run & Gun, both picked up by Paramount. Producing alongside Mathis, Allen, and Suh are industry veterans Gabriel Roth and Marvin Towns Jr.
BuzzFeed Studios and CAA negotiated the deal for Block Party. Wilkinson is repped by Verve; Allen & Suh by Kaplan-Stahler and Zero Gravity Management.
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