*Los Angeles, CA – ARRAY, the multi-platform distribution label of African-American Film Festival Releasing Movement (AFFRM), today announced the acquisition of Slamdance 2013 Official Selection, BIG WORDS, the directorial debut of former Entertainment Weekly reporter Neil Drumming. The film stars Dorian Missick (“Southland”) as the title character, along with Gbenga Akinnagbe (“The Wire”), Zachary Booth (‘Keep The Lights On”), Yaya Alafia (“The Kids Are All Right’) with Darien Sills-Evans and rapper Jean Grae. ARRAY has acquired all U.S. distribution rights. The announcement was made by AFFRM Founder Ava DuVernay.
Set in Brooklyn on the eve of Obama’s history-making election, three former members of a promising hip-hop crew cross paths again to discover that some things never change. Former frontman John, once known as Big Words, is now a working class guy who raps only to himself. James is a publicist living with his boyfriend, far removed from the days when he rhymed about getting girls. While DJ Malik still spins records with a longing for the glory days. Together again on the day of a landmark election, the friends reckon with dreams deferred and new hopes. An Official Selection of the 2013 Slamdance Film Festival, BIG WORDS is written and directed by Drumming, and produced by Drumming and Matthew Keene Smith.
“Neil has created a poignant study of black masculinity and friendship set against the beauty of hip hop and the community it can foster. We’re very pleased to work with this exciting new writer/director to make sure BIG WORDS finds its audience,” stated ARRAY’s Managing Director Tilane Jones.
“I can’t think of a more ideal situation for us than to release BIG WORDS under the AFFRM banner. I’ve long admired Ava DuVernay as both an artist and a champion of independent film. I’m incredibly proud that AFFRM has recognized the potential of this film, and I can’t wait for audiences to see what my wonderful crew and I have accomplished,” stated BIG WORDS Director Neil Drumming.
The deal was negotiated by Gordon Bobb of Del, Shaw, Moonves, Tanaka, Finkelstein & Lezcano on behalf of AFFRM with producer Matthew Keene Smith.
Founded in 2011, AFFRM is the African-American Film Festival Releasing Movement, a distribution collective of black arts organizations dedicated to quality black independent films. AFFRM’s theatrical releases to date include: Storm Saulter’s Jamaican gem BETTER MUS’ COME, 2012 Sundance Best Director Award Winner MIDDLE OF NOWHERE; 2011 Sundance World Cinema Audience Award Winner KINYARWANDA, 2011 Sundance Film Festival Official “Next” Selection RESTLESS CITY; and 2011 NAACP Image Award nominee for Best Independent Picture, I WILL FOLLOW. AFFRM’s founding organizations include Urbanworld (NYC), Imagenation (NYC), Reelblack (Philadelphia), Langston Hughes Film Festival (Seattle), BronzeLens (Atlanta) and DVA (Los Angeles).