June 16, 2021
Gravitas Ventures has acquired North American rights to writer-director David Midell’s drama The Killing of Kenneth Chamberlain from Voltage Pictures.
Gravitas Ventures is slated to release the film — the tragic retelling of the fatal shooting of a 68-year-old African-American man by the White Plains, N.Y., police — in theaters and on demand on Sept. 17.
The Killing of Kenneth Chamberlain tells the true story of the final hours of the life of Kenneth Chamberlain Sr., an elderly African-American veteran with bipolar disorder, who was killed during a conflict with police officers who were sent to his home to check on him, when his medical alert device was mistakenly activated. Despite Chamberlain informing the officers there was a mistake and he did not have an emergency, they were recorded taunting him, ridiculing his military service and howling racial epithets at him. Finally, the officers broke his door down and shot him to death.
“Our goal all along has been to ask important questions about how our criminal justice system treats people of color, people in low-income areas, and people living with mental health challenges,” Midell (NightLights) said in a statement. “We are beyond excited to work with a partner like Gravitas to bring The Killing of Kenneth Chamberlain to North America, and put a very bright spotlight on those questions.”
The film, which made its world premiere at the Austin Film Festival in 2019, stars Frankie Faison (Do the Right Thing, Silence of the Lambs) as Chamberlain. It is produced by Midell and Enrico Natale of Redbird Entertainment. Executive producers also include Morgan Freeman, Lori McCreary, Gary Lucchesi, Sharad Chib, Chris Paladino and Milan Chakraborty.
At the Austin Film Festival, the film won both the Jury Award and Audience Award. It also won the top narrative feature prize at the 24th annual Urbanworld Film Festival, a festival which celebrates inclusive, diverse filmmaking.
“David’s film, featuring a career-best performance by Frankie Faison, is a riveting dramatization of a real-life tragedy, and an urgent addition to the engagement of cinema with police reform and racial injustice,” Tony Piantedosi, VP of acquisitions at Gravitas Ventures, said in a statement. “We look forward to presenting the film to North American audiences.”
Gravitas Ventures is a Red Arrow Studios company.