EXCLUSIVE: Briarcliff Entertainment CEO Tom Ortenberg has completed an acquisition of U.S. distribution rights to the slave rebellion action-thriller Emperor. Briarcliffe has dated the film for a March 27 theatrical release. The film is directed by Mark Amin and written by Amin and Pat Charles, and stars Dayo Okeniyi, Kat Graham, Bruce Dern, James Cromwell and Mykelti Williamson.
The film is based on a true story, and Okeniyi plays Shields Green, an escaped slave who will do anything to free his family. Racing north, Green joins forces with the legendary John Brown in the battle at Harpers Ferry, a key battle of the abolitionist movement which helped spark the Civil War.
The film is produced by Sobini Films’ Amin and Cami Winikoff, and Reginald Hudlin. Pic was shot on location in Savannah, Georgia.
Ortenberg called Emperor “a terrific, moving film with great heart that could not be more timely.”
Said Amin: “Here was a young slave who ran away from his plantation, made it to freedom, and had Fredrick Douglas offer to send him to Canada to live in safety. Instead he chose to join John Brown and fight for the principles he believed in. This is what inspired me to make this film.”
Hudlin said, “This isn’t a slavery movie. It’s a freedom movie. This is a film about a man smart enough and strong enough to fight the system and change the world.”
Briarcliff was launched by the former Open Road chief Ortenberg and its releases so far have included Michael Moore’s Fahrenheit 11/9, El Chicano and Don’t Let Go, which starred David Oyelowo and Storm Reid.