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Fela Kuti Movie Picks Up Nigerian Director

Andrew Dosunmu to helm music drama for Focus

Focus Features is moving ahead on a Fela Kuti biopic, attaching Andrew Dosunmu to direct its drama about the Nigerian musician.

The Cine Mosaic production is produced by Lydia Dean Pilcher and Leigh Blake.

Fela Kuti pioneered Afrobeat as a fusion of jazz, funk, psychedelic rock, and Yoruba chants and rhythms. He also was a political activist and took on the Nigerian government in the 1970s. He passed away in 1997.

Nigerian poet Chris Abani and Focus co-topper James Schamus have written the most recent drafts of the movie’s screenplay. Focus exec Teresa Moneo is supervising.

The source material is Michael Veal’s 2000 book “Fela: The Life and Times of An African Musical Icon” but is not an adaptation of, or affiliated with, the Broadway musical “Fela!”

Dosunmu’s “Mother of George,” starring Isaach De Bankole and Danai Gurira, premiered at this year’s Sundance Film Festival and was released theatrically by Oscilloscope this month. The Nigerian director’s “Restless City” premiered at Sundance in 2011 and was released theatrically by Screen Media Films in 2012.

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