In its second run-up-to-Cannes pickup, Film Constellation, Fabien Westerhoff’s newly-launched London-based financing-licensing company, has acquired international sales rights to IFC-distributed U.S. crime drama “The Land.”
Written and directed by Steven Caple Jr. in his feature debut, this slice of Cleveland youth culture features the on-screen presence of hip-hop stars Erykah Badu and Colson Baker (aka Machine Gun Kelly) and a soundtrack which Westerhoff calls a “who’s who” of American hip-hop artists. These include Nas, Erykah Badu, Machine Gun Kelly, Ezzy, Nosaj Thing, Pusha T. Fashawn and Kanye West.
Exec produced by Nas, and world premiering in Sundance’s Next section, “The Land” will be rolled out in U.S. theaters later tis year, accompanied by a roster of live concerts from soundtrack featured artists. Mass Appeal will release the soundtrack.
A portrait of four kids trapped in an inner-city Cleveland Ohio spiral of poverty and crime, “The Land” tracks Cisco (Landeborg) and three friends who spend their free time skateboarding and stealing cars for cash. To finance their entry into a major skateboarding competition, which could help them turn pro, they decide to hold on ecstasy they find in a drug dealers’ truck. That plunges them into the web of the local drug queen-pin, and their motley brotherhood is tested – threatening to make this summer their last.
Variety has also had exclusive access to the film’s teaser trailer.
“The Land” introduces newcomers Jorge Lendeborg Jr. and Ezri Walker, and features more established talent: Michael Kenneth Williams (“The Wire”), Linda Emond (“Julie & Julia”), Kim Coates (“Sons of Anarchy”), Colson Baker (“Beyond the Lights”), Moises Arias (“Kings of Summer”), Rafi Gavron (“Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist”), Natalie Martinez (“End of Watch”) and Erykah Badu (“Cider House Rules”).
“I wanted to showcase the reality of urban youth today: For the audience to witness that those we consider thugs or criminals are often really just kids, and could be a brother, a cousin, or the kid down the street from you,” Caple said.
Film Constellation’s Westerhoff added: “The Land” brilliantly captures the freedom and escapism associated to skateboarding, but also the violence that surrounds these kids, in a very realistic style. It is a moving account of growing up too fast, and we’re delighted to work with Steven on his impressive debut feature.”
The film was financed by Priority Pictures and Macro. It is produced by Lizzie Friedman (“The Stanford Prison Experiment”), Tyler Davidson (“Take Shelter”), Karen Lauder (“Max Payne”), Greg Little (“Stanford Prison Experiment”), Stephen Love (“Scary Movie”) and Blake Pickens. It is executive produced by Charles D. King (“Fences”), Poppy Hanks (“Barbershop 2: Back In Business”), Nasir “Nas” Jones (“Tyson”), Jennifer Levine (“Meadowland,” “G.B.F.”), Kevin Flanigan (“Take Shelter”) and Nicolas Bertelsen (“The Labyrinth”).
In late April, Film Constellation announced it had boarded “Cross My Mind,” a psychological drama from “Fish Tank” producer Kees Kasander, starring Academy Award-nominated Sally Hawkins (“Blue Jasmine”) and Jack Lowden (“71”).