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A.V. Rockwell Making Feature Directorial Debut with “A Thousand and One,” Lena Waithe Producing

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A.V. Rockwell is teaming up with Lena Waithe and Focus Features for her first feature film. A press release has announced that mother-son drama “A Thousand and One,” written and directed by Rockwell, will begin production next year. Waithe and Rishi Rajani are producing via their Hillman Grad company, and Sight Unseen and Makeready are producing as well. Focus will distribute the film in the U.S., and Universal Pictures is handling international distribution.

“Convinced that it is one last, necessary crime on the path to redemption, unapologetic and free-spirited Ines kidnaps six-year-old Terry from the foster care system,” per the project’s synopsis. “Holding onto their secret and each other, mother and son set out to reclaim their home, their identity, and stability in a rapidly changing New York City.”

No word on casting yet.

“A.V.’s script absolutely floored us with its insights, emotions, and humanity, and we are thrilled to join the powerhouse teaming of Hillman Grad, Makeready, and Sight Unseen to bring her directorial talents to the screen,” said Focus Features chairman Peter Kujawski.

Rockwell’s short “Feathers” screened at Sundance 2019 and was the winning project of Tribeca’s second Through Her Lens program. She has received fellowships from Sundance Institute and the John S. Guggenheim Foundation and was named one of Filmmaker Magazine’s 25 New Faces of Independent Film. Her other directorial credits include shorts “The Gospel” and “The Dreamer” and an episode of Waithe’s BET comedy “Boomerang.”

Waithe produced “The Forty Year-Old Version,” Radha Blank’s award-winning feature directorial debut, the story of a playwright who pursues a passion for rap on the eve of turning 40. Waithe penned last year’s “Queen & Slim” and the upcoming features “Beauty,” a romantic drama, and “Talent Show,” a Universal musical drama. She created TV shows “The Chi” and “Twenties,” and co-created “Boomerang.”

Waithe became the first Black woman to win a comedy writing Emmy for her “Master of None” episode “Thanksgiving,” which is based on her own years-long coming out process. Her more recent on-screen credits include “Bad Hair,” “Westworld,” and “Onward.”

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