Ava DuVernay-Produced Limited Series ‘DMZ’ Headed to HBO Max

HBO Max has ordered the Max Original four-part limited series “DMZ,” from Emmy nominee Roberto Patino, Emmy winner/Academy Award nominee Ava DuVernay, and Warner Bros. Television.

Rosario Dawson and Benjamin Bratt lead the cast of the futuristic drama, which is set amid a second American civil war and is based on the comic series published by DC. Patino. Patino will write all episodes and showrun. The pilot episode was directed by DuVernay. Patino and DuVernay are the executive producers.

Production on the limited series is scheduled to begin in 2021.

“I couldn’t be more thrilled to bring this epic to the screen with my boundary-pushing partners at WBTV and HBO Max, a sublime cast led by Rosario and Benjamin, and my partner and friend, the inimitable and ever-inspiring Ava DuVernay,” Patino said in a statement. “‘DMZ’ offers up an explosive playground which, more than anything else, exalts the resilience of community and the human spirit. I can’t wait to welcome the die-hard fans of the comic books and new viewers alike to this intoxicating, haunting and inspiring world.”

“‘DMZ’s’ unflinching story of a country torn apart resonates eerily and profoundly amid our current state of the union,” Sarah Aubrey, head of original content, HBO Max, said in a statement. “With the powerhouse visionary team of Ava and Roberto at the helm, bringing this critically acclaimed DC gem to life promises to entertain and inspire hope.”

In the series in the near future, America is embroiled in a bitter civil war, leaving Manhattan a demilitarized zone (DMZ), destroyed and isolated from the rest of the world. “DMZ” chronicles the harrowing journey of fearless and fierce medic Alma Ortega (Dawson), who sets out on a harrowing journey to find the son she lost in the evacuation of New York City at the onset of the conflict. Throwing gasoline on the flames of that conflict is Parco Delgado (Bratt), the popular and deadly leader of one of the most powerful gangs in the DMZ. He wants to rule this new world — and will stop at nothing to secure that outcome. In the drama, which examines a stark political and cultural divide in American society, Alma must contend with the gangs, militias, demagogues and warlords that control this lawless no man’s land.

In addition to Dawson and Bratt, “DMZ” series stars include Hoon Lee (“Banshee,””Warrior”), Freddy Miyares (“When They See Us,” “The L Word: Generation Q”) and Jordan Preston Carter (“The Haves and the Have Nots”).

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“DMZ” is produced by DuVernay’s Array Filmworks in association with Warner Bros. Television.

Patino and DuVernay are both under overall deals with Warner Bros. Television Group (WBTVG).

Prior to “DMZ,” Patino was a writer and executive producer for the Emmy-nominated HBO/Warner Bros. Television series “Westworld.” He previously was a writer/producer on FX’s “Sons of Anarchy,” was a writer for NBC’s “Prime Suspect,” and wrote the feature film Cut Bank.

Through her WBTVG overall deal, DuVernay is currently executive producing the OWN/Warner Bros. Television drama series “Queen Sugar” and “Cherish the Day,” as well as the upcoming NBC family social experiment “Home Sweet Home” and the HBO Max docuseries “One Perfect Shot,” both from Warner Horizon Unscripted Television. Separately from her WBTVG deal, DuVernay is executive producing the upcoming Netflix limited series “Colin in Black & White,” about the life of all-star athlete/activist Colin Kaepernick. She previously helmed the acclaimed Emmy-winning Netflix miniseries “When They See Us,” the Oscar-winning feature Selma, Oscar-nominated/Emmy-winning documentary 13th, and films A Wrinkle in Time, Middle of Nowhere and I Will Follow.

Ava DuVernay to Make Feature Based on Best-seller ‘Caste’ for Netflix

Under her Array Filmworks banner for Netflix, Academy Award and Golden Globe nominee Ava DuVernay will direct, write and produce a feature film adaptation based on The New York Times bestseller and Oprah’s Book Club selection Caste: The Origins of Our Discontents by Pulitzer Prize winner Isabel Wilkerson.

Through a multiple-story structure, Caste examines the unspoken system that has shaped America and chronicles how our lives today are defined by a hierarchy of human divisions dating back generations.

Caste marks DuVernay’s first feature film at Netflix, reuniting her with Netflix executive Tendo Nagenda. The pair worked together on Disney’s A Wrinkle in Time.

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The project continues Netflix’s relationship with DuVernay, who was the first Black woman feature director to be nominated for an Academy Award with her acclaimed documentary 13th garnering BAFTA, Emmy and Peabody Awards. Most recently, her limited series When They See Us received 16 Emmy nominations. DuVernay is currently producing a limited series for Netflix based on the adolescent life of athlete and activist Colin Kaepernick entitled Colin in Black & White.

DuVernay will produce alongside Sarah Bremner and Paul Garnes of Array Filmworks.

Isabel Sandoval Explores the Power of the Unsaid in ‘Lingua Franca’

Presented by Ava DuVernay’s Array Releasing, Lingua Franca, Isabel Sandoval’s poignant tale about a trans immigrant in New York, made cinematic history when it became the first film produced, written, directed, edited by and starring a trans woman of color to compete at the Venice International Film Festival last year.

Lingua Franca bows in select theaters in the U.S. and on Netflix on Aug. 26.

A hit in France, Cahiers du Cinema hailed the film’s blend of political impulses with true romanticism as “rare in contemporary cinema.”

Lingua Franca, which had its world premiere at the festival’s Venice Days sidebar, is Sandoval’s third film but her first to shoot in the U.S.. She made her first two films, Señorita and Apparition, in her home country, the Philippines.

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Inspired by the personal experiences of her fellow immigrants in New York, Lingua Franca pivots on an undocumented trans woman, played by Sandoval, who cares for an elderly Russian lady Olga (Lynn Cohen) as she struggles to secure a green card and sends money home. An unexpected romance with Olga’s wayward grandson Alex (Eamon Farren) compels her to face the realities of her identity, her civil rights and her immigration status.

In Lingua Franca, Sandoval explores the power of the unsaid. “Lingua Franca means bridge language, which between immigrants of different countries would most likely be English,” said Sandoval. “In the film’s case, what’s left unsaid becomes the lingua franca.”

“The quietest moments in my films tend to be the most powerful,” she mused, pointing to a signature theme in her films: “quiet, almost dialogueless scenes between two characters that are anchored in dramatic tension.”

Unsurprisingly, her oeuvre has been about the marginalized and the disempowered, more often than not in political settings.

Sandoval’s debut feature, Senorita, revolves around a trans woman, played by herself, who gets drawn into politics. Apparition is set in a convent just as then President Ferdinand Marcos begins to crack down on the opposition and declares martial law. As the outside world threatens their peace, the film reflects on the journey of the nuns in the Philippines who were transformed from their docile and subservient stance to becoming frontline leaders in the country’s people power revolution that toppled Marcos.

Sandoval ventures into a new genre in her next film, Tropical Gothic, which she hopes to shoot next year in the Philippines. Set in 16th century Philippines after the arrival of the Spanish conquistadores, Tropical Gothic turns on the haunting of a Spanish colonizer by a native priestess. “It’s a vampire story without vampires,” she quipped.

HBO Max Greenlights Docuseries ‘One Perfect Shot’ With Ava DuVernay

HBO Max has greenlit a new docuseries celebrating iconic movie moments executive produced and narrated by Oscar nominee and Emmy Award winner Ava DuVernay.

“One Perfect Shot,” a half-hour unscripted series inspired by a popular Twitter account of the same name, is produced by Warner Horizon Unscripted Television with DuVernay’s production company Array Filmworks.

Each episode arms one acclaimed director with an arsenal of visual tools to pull back the curtain on their most iconic shots. Using state-of-the-art technology, the directors will literally enter each shot, walking through the scene in 360 moments that allow viewers to join an immersive exploration of moviemaking. Filmmakers will share their obstacles, challenges, lessons and triumphs as they detail how they created their crowning cinematic achievements. Each helmer will also present one shot from an auteur who deeply influenced them.

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“There is nothing more fascinating than witnessing the passion and creativity of a filmmaker discussing their craft and dissecting how they pulled off that jaw-dropping shot,” Sarah Aubrey, head of original content for HBO Max, said in a statement. “Narrated by the illustrious Ava Duvernay, this series is sure to ignite and inspire film and television enthusiasts at every level.”

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“Ava’s concept for ‘One Perfect Shot’ and Array’s attachment to any project intensifies the production value and story quality,” Mike Darnell, president of Warner Bros. unscripted and alternative television, said in a statement.

“As one of today’s most respected filmmakers, Ava is the perfect voice to narrate the journey through the immersive new technology created to showcase the most beloved films of all time,” added Brooke Karzen, EVP and head of Warner Horizon Unscripted Television.

“I’ve long wanted to create a series about the art of directing,” DuVernay said in a statement. “To chronicle the craft of great filmmakers is a dream come true for me and all of us at Array Filmworks. We’re thrilled that our partners at Warner Horizon Unscripted Television embraced this idea and look forward to fully geeking out over movies with our friends at HBO Max,”

Winner of BAFTA, Peabody and Emmy Awards, DuVernay’s directorial work includes the civil rights drama Selma, the Oscar-nominated social justice documentary 13th and the Disney children’s adventure A Wrinkle in Time. In 2019, she created, wrote, produced and directed the Emmy and Peabody Award-winning limited series When They See Us. She is currently producing the fifth season of her acclaimed series “Queen Sugar.” She is the winner of the 2012 Sundance Best Director Prize for her second independent film, Middle of Nowhere.

Ava DuVernay to Produce Scripted Series on Colin Kaepernick for Netflix

The adolescent life of athlete and activist Colin Kaepernick will hit Netflix in Colin in Black & White, a scripted limited series from Kaepernick and Academy Award nominee and Emmy Award winner Ava DuVernay.

The series will focus on Kaepernick’s formative high school years, lending meaningful insight into the acts and experiences that led him to become an activist. Emmy Award nominee Michael Starrbury writes and serves as executive producer, alongside DuVernay and Kaepernick who will appear as himself as narrator of the series.

The six-episode series, which was conceived in 2019 and recently completed writing in May, provides an introspective look at Kaepernick’s early life as a black child growing up with a white adopted family and his journey to become a great quarterback while defining his identity. The limited series reunites Starrbury and DuVernay who last worked together on Netflix’s acclaimed When They See Us, which received 16 Emmy Award nominations, including a nomination for Outstanding Writing for the duo and was recently honored with a Peabody Award.

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“With his act of protest, Colin Kaepernick ignited a national conversation about race and justice with far-reaching consequences for football, culture and for him, personally,” said DuVernay in a statement. “Colin’s story has much to say about identity, sports and the enduring spirit of protest and resilience. I couldn’t be happier than to tell this story with the team at Netflix.”

“Too often we see race and Black stories portrayed through a white lens,” said Kaepernick in a statement. “We seek to give new perspective to the differing realities that Black people face. We explore the racial conflicts I faced as an adopted Black man in a white community, during my high school years. It’s an honor to bring these stories to life in collaboration with Ava for the world to see.”

“We’re proud to bring Colin’s experience and his creative vision to life as he joins Ava to share his powerful story and message with all our members around the world,” said Cindy Holland, VP, original content for Netflix. “It is an unparalleled union of two strong and defining voices coming together to tell the story about what it’s like to be Black in America.”

Ava DuVernay: 23 Million Netflix Accounts Streamed ‘When They See Us’

Ava DuVernay, creator of Netflix’s When They See Us, says the controversial miniseries has been streamed by more than 23 million accounts worldwide since bowing May 31.

When They See Us is based on the 1989 Central Park jogger assault and rape case that sent five wrongly-convicted African American teens to jail on sentences ranging from five to 15 years.

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DuVernay, who was nominated for Golden Globe and Oscar awards for Selma and 13th, disclosed the data in a tweet June 25.

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Netflix , which is traditionally reticent about disclosing streaming data, June 12 tweeted the series has been its most-watched domestic daily program in June.

The convictions were later overturned and the young men exonerated on all charges after another man confessed to the crime that drew racially-charged attention nationwide.

Defendants Raymond Santana, Antron McCray, Yusef Salaam, Kevin Richardson and Korey Wise collectively received $41 million in compensation from the state of New York for their wrongful convictions. In 2016, they received another $3.9 million in a separate settlement.

Ava DuVernay’s ‘When They See Us’ Soars Up Digital Originals Chart

“When They See Us,” the controversial miniseries about the Central Park Five that was created, co-written, and directed by Ava DuVernay for Netflix, shot up to No. 2 on Parrot Analytics’ digital originals chart the week ended June 8.

The four-episode drama series is based on the notorious 1989 Central Park jogger case, in which five juveniles – four black and one Latino – were sent to prison for allegedly raping a white woman jogger. They were exonerated after the real rapist confessed, but by then had already served their time.

In the week since the program’s May 31 debut, the number of average daily Demand Expressions soared 170% to 52.5 million, sending the series to No. 2 from No. 13 on the digital originals chart – right behind “Stranger Things,” which remains at No. 1 for the third consecutive week.

Demand Expressions is a proprietary Parrot Analytics metric that draws from a wide variety of data sources, including video streaming, social media activity, photo sharing, blogging, commenting on fan and critic rating platforms, and downloading and streaming via peer-to-peer protocols and file sharing sites.

A “digital original” is a multi-episode series in which the most recent season was first made available on a streaming platform such as Netflix, Amazon Prime Video or Hulu.

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“When They See Us” has generated a flood of media coverage in recent weeks. Most recently, prosecutor Linda Fairstein, who as head of the Manhattan District Attorney’s sex-crimes unit played a key role in prosecuting the five young men, in a Wall Street Journal opinion piece blasted the series as a “fabrication” and maintained that the suspects’ exoneration doesn’t mean they aren’t guilty of other crimes they were convicted of at the time.

The five were part of a group of about 30 teenagers in Central Park on the evening of April 19, 1989, when several people in the park were robbed and assaulted.

Demand for “Stranger Things” was relatively unchanged from the prior week. “Lucifer,” based on a character from the DC Comics comic-book series “The Sandman,” slipped to No. 3 despite a 4% uptick in demand – likely triggered by word that Netflix has renewed the show for a fifth and final season.

A 68% surge in average daily Demand Expressions sent “Black Mirror” back up to No. 4 from No. 8 the prior week. The British sci-fi anthology series from Charlie Brooker returned to Netflix for a fifth season on June 5.

Rounding out the top five on the weekly digital originals chart was Hulu’s “The Handmaid’s Tale,” up from No. 6 the prior week with a 39% spike in demand. The dystopian drama’s third season also premiered on June 5.

Two other series made it into the top 10 on Parrot Analytics’ digital originals chart with significant increases in demand.

Debuting at No. 6 was Amazon Prime Video’s “Good Omens,” a six-part miniseries starring Michael Sheen and David Tennant as angels seeking to prevent the apocalypse. All six episodes of the series were released on May 31, leading to a 93% gain in average daily Demand Expressions.

Returning to the top 10, at No. 10, was “Swamp Thing,” with a 116% spike in demand. The live-action DC Universe series premiered May 31 and was canceled a week later, with word that there would be no second season.

“Swamp Thing” was the third show to launch on DC Universe after “Titans” and “Doom Patrol” both enjoyed successful launches.

Media Play News has teamed with Parrot Analytics to provide readers with a weekly top 10 of the most popular digital original TV series in the United States, based on the firm’s  proprietary metric called Demand Expressions, which measures global demand for TV content through a wide variety of data sources, including video streaming, social media activity, photo sharing, blogging, commenting on fan and critic rating platforms, and downloading and streaming via peer-to-peer protocols and file sharing sites.