Oscar-nominated filmmaker Ryan Coogler, producer Zinzi Coogler and writer and producer Sev Ohanian have teamed with Oscar- and Grammy-winning composer Ludwig Göransson, Senior VP of Marketing at RCA Records Archie Davis and Emmy-winning filmmaker Peter Nicks to launch Proximity, a new multimedia company.
“It has been a great joy to form Proximity with some of my closest loved ones and collaborators whose work and commitment to their craft I have long admired,” Ryan Coogler said in a statement announcing the launch.
Ryan Coogler, Zinzi Coogler and Ohanian will oversee all of Proximity’s operations. Göransson will serve as Proximity’s principal music executive, with Davis overseeing marketing, soundtrack and podcast production, and Nicks spearheading the non-fiction division of the company and directing select projects.
“It is such an honor to be working alongside my partners and friends to launch Proximity. We’re looking forward to telling meaningful stories that we hope will resonate with audiences across all ages and backgrounds,” Zinzi Coogler said.
As a unit, the six founding members of Proximity will create content across film, television, music and podcasts, using their individual expertise to supervise each project from development to release.
Proximity’s first film, “Judas and the Black Messiah,” is nominated for six Academy Awards, including best picture. Proximity produced the Warner Bros. movie alongside MACRO, Participant Media and Bron Creative, making Coogler, Charles D. King and director Shaka King the first all-Black producing team nominated for best picture. The company also produced the film’s soundtrack and accompanying podcast.
“Nine years ago, I co-produced the film ‘Fruitvale Station,’ and found a lifelong collaborator in Ryan Coogler,” Ohanian added. “So when Ryan asked me to join him and Zinzi in launching Proximity, I was all in. I couldn’t be more proud of what we’ve all accomplished together and can’t wait for all that’s still to come.”
Since co-founding Proximity, Ohanian has worked as the primary on-the-ground producer on the films “Judas and the Black Messiah,” as well as the upcoming “Space Jam: A New Legacy,” both for Warner Bros.
Proximity’s mission, the announcement explains, is to create content that “look to bring audiences closer together through stories involving often-overlooked subject matters.”
“I could not be prouder to be part of the collective force that makes up the Proximity family. I look forward to using my experience in film scoring and songwriting to shine a spotlight on some of the most exciting and compelling voices in music today,” said Göransson, who has collaborated with Coogler since college and scored all three of the filmmaker’s feature films (“Fruitvale Station,” “Creed” and “Black Panther”).
Proximity has already entered into a five-year overall exclusive television deal with The Walt Disney Co., which includes producing a new Marvel Studios series based on “Black Panther’s” Kingdom of Wakanda for Disney Plus. A sequel to “Black Panther” is set for release in 2022.
“It is my honor to work with such distinguished creatives that I get to call my team,” Davis — who first collaborated with Coogler on the “Black Panther” soundtrack — said. “The collective vision of Proximity and its potential is a responsibility that I take with honor. Ryan, Zinzi, Sev, Ludwig and Peter, thank you so much for inviting me on this journey with you all. To create with purpose alongside people you trust is a gift I cherish everyday.”
Nicks — who will direct Proximity’s first feature documentary, “Anthem” — added: “From the ability to entertain to bearing witness at this watershed moment in our democracy, content creators are riding an unprecedented wave of interest in nonfiction storytelling. I’m excited to join this group of talented storytellers at Proximity who recognize the increasingly dynamic role that nonfiction is playing in both our culture and in the marketplace.”
“Anthem” follows composer Kris Bowers and a group of acclaimed artists on a creative journey to reimagine “The Star-Spangled Banner.” Other upcoming Proximity projects include the film adaptation of graphic novel series “Bitter Root”; “Creed 3,” starring and directed by Michael B. Jordan; and “Wrong Answer,” written by Ta-Nehisi Coates.
Proximity has also partnered with Radiotopia founder Roman Mars to produce podcasts that extend the conversation around the film’s production and subject matter. The “Judas and the Black Messiah Podcast” is their first co-production. The six-part series produced by Christopher Johnson, and hosted by Elvis Mitchell and Fred Hampton Jr., features in depth conversations from the pic’s cast, filmmakers and former Black Panther Party members.