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Toronto-Based Family Drama ‘Brother’ to Be Developed as Film

Toronto-based production companies Conquering Lion and Hawkeye Pictures have acquired the film and television rights to David Chariandy’s family drama “Brother,” Variety has learned exclusively.

Clement Virgo (“The Book of Negroes”) is attached to adapt the screenplay and direct the film. The novel tells the story of two brothers facing questions of masculinity, family, race and identity in a housing complex during the sweltering heat and simmering violence of the summer of 1991.

The deal was announced Thursday on the opening day of the Toronto Film Festival. “Brother” is the winner of the 2017 Rogers Writers’ Trust Fiction Prize, was shortlisted for the Scotiabank Giller Prize, won the 2018 Ethel Wilson Fiction Prize, and is a current finalist for the Toronto Book Award.

Virgo’s TV directing credits include “Empire,” “American Crime” and “The Wire.”  He is the supervising director and executive producer with Oprah Winfrey on OWN network drama series “Greenleaf.”

“Growing up poor in Toronto’s Regent Park in the 1980s to Jamaican immigrant parents, I relate on a personal level to the characters and how the world sees you as a young black man,” said Virgo. “I’m excited to dive into adapting and directing such a personal story.”

“‘Brother’ is an exquisite novel and Clement a visionary filmmaker,” said producer Aeschylus Poulos. “There is no one better to adapt and direct this story.”

Rights were sold by Michael Levine at Westwood Creative Artists, on behalf of Jackie Kaiser. Damon D’Oliveira negotiated the deal on behalf of Conquering Lion and Hawkeye Pictures.

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