Under the pact, Tillman, Jr. and Robert Teitel will develop new projects for the studio, working with State Street’s Jay Marcus who has been promoted to Head of Film & Television and will spearhead day-to-day efforts related to the deal.
The first-look agreement expands director-producer Tillman Jr.’s relationship with Sony Pictures TV, the studio behind ABC’s series For Life. Tillman directed and executive produced the pilot for the praised legal and family drama about an imprisoned man who becomes a lawyer, litigating cases for other inmates while fighting to overturn his own life sentence for a crime he didn’t commit.
“I had such a wonderful creative experience with Sony on the pilot of For Life and am thrilled to continue that relationship with this new deal,” said Tillman Jr. “As a filmmaker, I’m focused on telling stories about people of color and other marginalized or underrepresented characters and I’m looking forward to working with the incredibly supportive team at Sony to bring them to the screen in an entertaining, powerful and heartfelt way.”
Sony TV has been building a roster of established and emerging talent. This marks the studio’s fifth deal with creative auspices connected to For Life, both behind and in front of the camera.
For Life creator/executive producer/showrunner Hank Steinberg as well as executive producers Doug Robinson’s DRP have five-year overall deals. The series’ writer/executive producer Sonay Hoffman also has an overall deal with Sony TV, while For Life star Joy Bryant launched Hot Sauce, a production company with writer/producer Samantha Taylor Pickett, which is based at Sony TV with a first-look deal.
“George, Bob, and Jay have an incredible vision that aligns with what the studio represents,” said Jason Clodfelter, Co-President, SPT. “Their appetite for finding unique, auteur-driven storytellers is voracious. We are honored to have State Street join the Sony family and look forward to collaborating with them across all platforms including drama, comedy and unscripted.”
Tillman Jr. and Teitel founded State Street Pictures in 1990 after meeting as students at Chicago’s Columbia College.
The pair’s first movie together was Soul Food (1997) for Fox 2000. The film was later developed into a television series for Showtime and ran 75 episodes. State Street’s other credits include the drama, Men of Honor (2000) starring Oscar winners Cuba Gooding Jr., Robert De Niro, and Charlize Theron and MGM’s hit Barbershop franchise. In 2017, Tillman and Teitel were Executive Producers on the four-time Academy Award-nominated film Mudbound.
“We could not be more excited to work with this great team at Sony and we’re looking forward to continuing to tell stories that resonate and speak to the important themes of today,” Teitel said.
Tillman, Jr. most recently directed and produced with Teitel The Hate U Give, based on Angie Thomas’s bestselling young adult novel, which was released by 20th Century Fox in October 2018. The story follows a 16-year-old African American girl struggling to find her voice after the horrific shooting death of her friend by a white police officer. In addition to directing features, he has directed television projects including Starz’ Power, Netflix/Marvel’s Luke Cage, and NBC’s This Is Us.
Teitel’s other producing credits include Southside with You (2016), Beats (2019) and Salt n Pepa (2021).
State Street was repped in the deal by CAA and Ziffren Brittenham. Tillman is also repped by 3 Arts.