×

Spike Lee Releases ‘Da Sweet Blood of Jesus’ Horror Film on Vimeo, Ahead of Theatrical Bow

Spike Lee is releasing his latest film, horror movie “Da Sweet Blood of Jesus,” exclusively on Vimeo On Demand one month before it hits theaters.

The film is available in the U.S. for a $9.99 24-hour streaming rental or $14.99 digital download at vimeo.com/ondemand/dasweetbloodofjesus.

“I’m hyped on my partnership with Vimeo to get my new joint ‘Da Sweet Blood of Jesus’ out to the world in a new way,” Lee said in a statement. “This is the future of film distribution. Please join us.”

Lee has said the movie was inspired by Bill Gunn’s “Ganja & Hess,” which screened at the 1973 Cannes Film Festival. Lee first saw “Ganja & Hess” when he attended NYU film school, where he now teaches.

The filmmaker, who co-wrote and produced “Da Sweet Blood of Jesus,” raised $1.4 million on Kickstarter for the movie — over the $1.25 million he asked for — from more than 6,400 backers. He filmed it in 16 days in the fall of 2013 in Brooklyn and Martha’s Vineyard with a cast of unknown actors.

A Spike Lee Joint, “Da Sweet Blood of Jesus” is billed as a new kind of love story that centers on an addiction to blood that once doomed a long-forgotten ancient African tribe. When Dr. Hess Green (Stephen Tyrone Williams, pictured above) is introduced to a mysteriously cursed artifact by an art curator, Lafayette Hightower (Elvis Nolasco), he is uncontrollably drawn into a newfound thirst for blood that overwhelms his soul — although he is not, technically, a vampire. Soon Lafayette’s wife, Ganja Hightower (Zaraah Abrahams), comes looking for her husband and becomes involved in a dangerous romance with Hess that questions the very nature of love, addiction, sex and status.

“Spike Lee is one of the most iconic filmmakers of our time and we couldn’t be more thrilled to work with him on this unprecedented release,” said Greg Clayman, g.m. of Vimeo Audience Networks. “We are huge fans of Spike and were drawn to the film’s independent spirit. Having built an audience and raised over a million dollars on Kickstarter, we are beyond excited to bring the film to fans directly one month ahead of the theatrical release.”

The 123-minute film was produced by Lee and producer-actor-academic Chiz Schultz, co-produced by Jason Sokoloff.

“Da Sweet Blood of Jesus” premiered at the annual American Black Film Festival in June 2014, where it was being shopped by ICM Partners for a domestic distribution. (ICM reps Spike Lee.)

Last November, Gravitas Ventures acquired North American rights to “Da Sweet Blood of Jesus,” when the distributor said it would release the film theatrically and on video-on-demand on Feb. 13, 2015.

Popular on Variety

More Film

  • Beyonce Knowles'The Lion King' film premiere,

    ABC Announces Behind-the-Scenes Special for Beyoncé's 'Lion King' LP

    ABC has announced a new behind-the-scenes look into the making of Beyoncé’s “The Lion King: The Gift” LP, which is set to air September 16 on ABC at 10 p.m. EST. Titled “Beyoncé Presents: Making the Gift,” the new hour-long special will allow viewers to “experience the process” behind the “Lion King” companion album, according [...]

  • Jason Lei Howden, Samara Weaving and

    Daniel Radcliffe On Acting With Weapons Nailed To Your Hands

    How did “Guns Akimbo” director and writer Jason Lei Howden convince Daniel Radcliffe to play a character with guns nailed to his hands? Easy, he sent him the script. Radcliffe joined Howden and “Ready or Not’s” breakout star Samara Weaving in the Variety’s Toronto Film Festival studio, presented by AT&T to talk the limits of [...]

  • Box Office: It Chapter Two Maintains

    Box Office: 'It: Chapter Two' Continues International Reign With $47 Million

    Pennywise’s reign of terror hasn’t wavered: Warner Bros.’ “It Chapter Two” maintained first place on box office charts, led by another strong showing overseas. The sequel, based on Stephen King’s horror novel, generated another $47 million at the international box office for a foreign tally of $169 million. After two weeks of release, “It Chapter [...]

  • First still from the set of

    Taika Waititi’s 'Jojo Rabbit' Wins Top Prize at Toronto Film Festival Awards

    Taika Waititi’s “Jojo Rabbit” has won the coveted People’s Choice Award at this year’s Toronto International Film Festival. The honor positions the film for a potential Oscar run and bolsters its awards chances. That’s good news for Fox Searchlight, which must have been disappointed by the lackluster critical reception for the movie, a dark comedy [...]

  • Constance Wu and Jennifer Lopez star

    Box Office: 'Hustlers' Racks Up Solid $33 Million Debut, 'Goldfinch' Bombs

    “Hustlers” rolled in the Benjamins this weekend, collecting $33.2 million when it debuted in 3,250 North American theaters. Boosted by rave reviews and stellar word of mouth, “Hustlers” beat expectations and now ranks as the best start for an STX film, along with the biggest live-action opening weekend for stars Jennifer Lopez and Constance Wu. [...]

  • German Cinema Is Diverse, But Is

    German Cinema Is Varied, But Is It Too Risk Averse?

    One of the strengths of German cinema is its diversity, says Simone Baumann, managing director of the national film promotion agency German Films. As well as the three films at Toronto directed by female German helmers, there was also German filmmaker Thomas Heise’s documentary film essay “Heimat Is a Space in Time.” Then there were [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content