EXCLUSIVE: Chinonye Chukwu is attached to direct an adaptation of former Black Panther leader Elaine Brown’s memoir, A Taste of Power. Black List writer Alyssa Hill will adapt the screenplay. This comes right on the heels of the Sunday night Sundance premiere of Clemency, which Chukwu wrote and directed. The film is competing in the U.S. Dramatic Competition and the filmmaker and cast got a standing ovation.
The adaptation’s producers are Robbie Brenner and Kevin McKeon for Unburdened Entertainment, and Scooter Braun and James Shin for SB Projects. Executive Producers are Elaine Brown and Jeff Kwatinetz, as well as Scott Manson of SB Projects, Andrew Heckler and Bronwyn Cornelius, latter of whom is a producer on Clemency.
Paradigm is handling financing for the project.
Elaine Brown is the first and only female leader of the Black Panther party from 1974 – 1977, this after Huey Newton was exiled to Cuba. She led the Panther party through turbulent times in Oakland to political success in the city, while fending off threats from local police, the FBI, and disaffected party members.
Clemency stars Alfre Woodard as a prison warden haunted by her own psychological demons as she develops an emotional connection with an inmate (Aldis Hodge) scheduled for execution under her watch. Richard Schiff, Wendell Pierce, Richard Gunn, and Danielle Brooks also star. Chukwu is known for her work on the clemency campaign of Tyra Patterson, who was wrongfully accused of murder, and subsequently released from prison after 23 years.
Brenner produced Dallas Buyers Club and last year’s Sundance winner, Burden. “After developing this project for many years with Elaine and Alyssa Hill, I cannot think of a more fearless filmmaker than Chinonye Chukwu, whose nuanced film making coupled with her activism and outreach, makes her the perfect person to tackle Elaine’s incredible story.”
Chukwu is repped by Paradigm and Mark Gochman. Alyssa Hill is repped by ICM and Kaplan/Perrone.