Amazon has confirmed that Spike Lee’s Chi-Raq (working title) will be the first ever production under its Amazon Original Movies banner.
Co-written by Lee and Kevin Willmott (CSA: Confederate States Of America), the film explores the issue of violence in inner city Chicago. The film was shot entirely in Chicago and wrapped last week.
Teyonah Parris plays the central lead character and the cast also includes Nick Cannon, Wesley Snipes, Jennifer Hudson and Angela Bassett, along with John Cusack and Samuel L. Jackson.
“Spike Lee is one of the most distinct and visionary filmmakers of our time,” said Ted Hope, head of film production at Amazon Studios.
“It would be impossible to find a better filmmaker with whom to launch our studio. He has a unique voice, a distinct eye, and he tackles important subjects with humour and heart, pointing to solutions and not exploiting the problems. Chi-Raq may be his greatest, and definitely his boldest film yet – everything about it is distinctive.”
Amazon Studios’ head of marketing and distribution Bob Berney said the company would collaborate with a theatrical distributor for Chi-Raq and future projects. Unlike Netflix, which insists on streaming original productions day-and-date with their theatrical release, Amazon is experimenting with shorter windows.
Amazon’s original TV series include Mozart In The Jungle, Alpha House and Golden Globe-winner Transparent. New series Hand Of God, Red Oaks and The Man In The High Castle are scheduled to premiere this autumn.