Blitz Bazawule, Aurora Guerrero and Deborah Kampmeier have been added to the director roster for Ava DuVernay’s forthcoming romantic anthology drama Cherish the Day. The OWN series has also added Michael Beach (ER), Anne-Marie Johnson (For The People) and Kellee Stewart (Guess Who) in recurring roles.
The new trio of directors will join previously announced director Tanya Hamilton while the actors will join series regulars Xosha Roquemore, Alano Miller and, of course, the legendary Cicely Tyson. Cherish the Day is blazing the trail when it comes to inclusion as it achieved full gender parity with a production crew of over 50% women, including 18 female department heads.
Chapter one of Cherish the Day chronicles the relationship of one couple, with each episode spanning a single day. The narrative will unfold to reveal significant moments in a relationship that compel us to hold true to the ones we love, from the extraordinary to the everyday. Roquemore (The Mindy Project) stars as Gently James and Alano Miller (Underground) stars as Evan Fisher. The couple meet and fall in love in Los Angeles and the full season will span five years in eight episodes.
Beach is set to play Ben, Gently’s foster father, a former gang member who works as deliveryman for the Los Angeles Times. Johnson will play Dana, Evan’s mother who disapproves of his relationship with Gently and is not shy about sharing her reservations. Rounding out the cast is Stewart as Ellene, Evan’s well-bred, religious sister.
Ghana-born filmmaker and musician Bazawule feature directorial debut, The Burial of Kojo premiered at Urbanworld Film Festival, where it won Best Narrative Feature (World Cinema). It continued to garner acclaim before DuVernay’s ARRAY acquired it and released it on Netflix. Bazawule is the founder of Africa Film Society, an organization focused on the preservation and distribution of classic African cinema.
Guerrero’s first narrative feature Mosquita Y Mari premiered at the 2012 Sundance Film Festival and went on to the film festival circuit where it garnered multiple awards, including Best First Narrative Feature and Best Leading Actress at Outfest, and was nominated for a Cassavetes Spirit Award and a GLAAD Media Award. Guerrero has also directed episodes of Queen Sugar, Greenleaf, The Red Line, 13 Reasons Why, Little America and Gente-fied.
Kampmeier’s first feature Virgin, starring Elisabeth Moss and Robin Wright, was nominated for two 2004 Independent Spirit Awards. Her second feature, Hounddog starring Dakota Fanning, was nominated for the Grand Jury Prize at the 2007 Sundance Film Festival. She also directed the indie Split and made her episodic directorial debut earlier this year on Queen Sugar. She recently wrapped production on her fourth feature Tape.
Created by DuVernay, Cherish the Day is set to premiere winter 2020 and is produced for OWN by ARRAY Filmworks and Harpo Films in association with Warner Horizon Scripted Television. DuVernay serves as executive producer alongside Paul Garnes, Tanya Hamilton and Oprah Winfrey.