Codeblack Films has acquired theatrical rights to Shola Lynch’s documentary “Free Angela and All Political Prisoners” and has partnered with BET Networks for an April 5 release at AMC locations in Los Angeles, New York, Chicago, Washington D.C., Oakland, Philadelphia and Atlanta.
The documentary, which screened in September at the Toronto Intl. Film Festival, centers on Davis being implicated in murder, kidnapping and conspiracy in connection with the Marin County Courthouse hostage-taking. She was acquitted two years later.
“We knew that this film was important and would not only shed a spotlight on history, but provide a flashlight for our future” said Jeff Clanagan, CEO of Codeblack Enterprises. “Angela Davis is a staple in history and continues to cross generational and cultural lines in her plight to fight for the freedom of all people.”
Producers are Carole Lambert, Shola Lynch, Carine Ruszniewski and Sidra Smith. Pic’s presented by Realside Productions and De Films en Aiguille, in association with Direct Cinema and the participation of Direct 8, with major support from La Region Ile-de-France, Canal Plus, the Ford Foundation and Black Entertainment Television Networks.
Exec producers on “Free Angela” are Jada Pinkett Smith via Overbrook Entertainment and Shawn “Jay Z” Carter through his Roc Nation banner.
Lynch’s first feature documentary was “Chisholm ’72 – Unbought & Unbossed,” which persuaded Davis to participate in a documentary.
“When I began this project I knew Angela Davis’ name and her iconic Afroed image, but I couldn’t tell you much more about her,” said Lynch. “I was really interested in investigating her story. She was a symbol of power, but I wanted to know for what, and why.”
John Anderson gave “Free Angela” a positive notice in his Toronto review for Variety: “While never quite nailing the key question at the heart of Davis’ celebrated prosecution, “Free Angela” is an impressive act of research, editing and period recreation; renewed interest in ’60s politics should assure some robust arthouse runs and healthy ratings for Black Entertainment Television.”
The film was developed with the support of The Independent Television Service with funding provided by BET Networks, the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, New York State Council on the Arts, Paul Newman Foundation, The Sundance Institute Documentary Film Program, Tribeca All Access and Angoa.
Codeblack formed a partnership last year with Lionsgate, under which Lionsgate will release stand-up comedy movie “Kevin Hart: Let Me Explain” on July 4.