Apple makes its first Sundance buy with coming-of-age film ‘Hala’ from Jada Pinkett Smith

TechCrunch | 1/29/2019 | Staff
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Amazon made its first deal at the 2019 Sundance Film Festival on Monday, with its acquisition of the global rights to a coming-of-age drama, Hala. The film, written and directed by Minhal Baig, and executive produced by Jada Pinkett Smith, tells the story of a 17-year old girl, Hala, raised in a conservative Muslim household, who develops feelings for a classmate that puts her at odds with her traditional upbringing.

The girl, played by Geraldine Viswanathan (Blockers), will also find herself grappling with the knowledge of secret that threatens to unravel her family, according to a description of the film’s plot.

Members - Interest - Jesse - Jack - Kilmer

Other cast members include love interest Jesse (Jack Kilmer, Palo Alto); mother, Eram (Purbi Joshi); father, Zahid (Azad Khan); Gabriel Luna (Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.); and Anna Chlumsky (Veep).

The movie itself is an expansion on a short film Baig made back in 2016, which was named to the 2016 Black List.

Baig - Chicago - Directing - Mentee - Ryan

Baig herself hails from Chicago, and was chosen in 2017 as a directing mentee for Ryan Murphy’s Half Initiative – Director Mentorship Program. She previously worked as a story editor on Bojack Horseman, and as a staff writer on the Hulu comedy, Untitled Ramy Youssef Project. She also worked on several shorts, including the precursor to Hala, After Sophie, and Pretext, as well as on music videos.

Of note, during production of the new movie, an inclusion rider was applied to bring women into many department...
(Excerpt) Read more at: TechCrunch
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