As part of this year’s Sundance Film Festival, Onyx Collective unveiled an expanded slate of upcoming programming during their Storyteller Showcase – notably including two new projects, one from Ryan Coogler’s Proximity Media, as well as a highly anticipated sophomore documentary. Features from music artist and filmmaker Questlove.
The company has acquired an untitled Sly Stone feature documentary from Ahmir “Questlove” Thompson, marking the artist’s second collaboration with the collective. diversity Doc commits to examining the life and legacy of Sly and the Family Stone, a groundbreaking band led by the famous Sly Stone. The documentary aims to explore the rise, reign and demise of one of pop music’s most influential artists and, in doing so, tell a human story about the value of talent.
Questlove will direct and executive produce alongside Sean Gee and Zarah Zohlman for Two One Five Entertainment Inc. Lonnie Rashid Lynn aka Common, will serve as an executive producer along with Derek Dudley, Shelby Stone and Ron Weissner. Brian Gersh and Paul Gertz will executive produce for Network Entertainment Inc.
Derrick Murray will produce with Joseph Patel, who is also attached to write with Jeff Mao. Patel, whose credits include Questlove’s Oscar-winning “Summer of Soul,” signed a multiyear overall deal with Onyx, the company shared during the Sundance panel.
As part of the deal, Patel will create, write and direct new projects for Onyx Collective through his production company, Dub Edition.
An Academy Award-winning documentary filmmaker, Patel began his career as a music and culture journalist based in California. He subsequently produced and directed television, short films and digital content for MTV, Vice Media, The Fader and Vevo. He is represented by Kate Hurwitz at Cinetic Media, as well as Mark Simon, Alex Threadgold and Daniel Spencer at Fox Rothschild LLP.
Also announced during Saturday’s panel, Onyx Collective has picked up the documentary film “Anthem” for Hulu from Proximity Media’s overall deal in partnership with The Machine (a division of Sony Pictures Television).
“The Musical” follows acclaimed composer Chris Bowers (“Bridgerton,” “When They See Us,” “King Richard”) and Grammy-winning music producer Dahi as they embark on a musical journey across America to create a new sound, inspired by If it is written today, it can be the national anthem of our country.
Peter Nix, Chris Bowers, Sean Havey, Chris L. Jenkins and Ryan Coogler executive produced The Machine, and Jinzi Coogler and Seve Ohanian produced the documentary with RJ Cutler and Alice Pearlstein for Proximity. Nick also directs.
The company also revealed that it is producing the scripted drama “Sheba”. The one-hour series is produced by Onyx Collective as part of its overall deal with Proximity Media.
“Sheba” chronicles the rise to power of the first African queen as she attempts to unite the nation now known as Ethiopia, transforming it into one of the richest, most powerful kingdoms in the world. Inspired by true events, the drama aims to take viewers into a world of danger, deception and political intrigue with Makeda as she is forced to take on the role of the Queen of Sheba.
The series comes from Shantel Wells (“Yellowjackets”) and Aji Tesfai (“Supergirl”), with Wells attached to write. Wells and Tesfai will executive produce alongside Proximity Media’s Ryan and Jinji Coogler, Kalia King and Seve Ohanian.
Writing and co-starring on The CW’s “Supergirl,” playing ex-military psychologist Kelly Olsen and DC Comics superhero The Guardian, Tesfai made history as the first Ethiopian to portray a comic superhero on screen. She previously played homicide detective Nadine Hanson in “Jane the Virgin” as Michael Cordero’s ex-partner. He is currently writing a pilot for “The Chase,” which is in development at NBC.
Chantel Wells is an Emmy-nominated writer and producer. His most recent credits include Marvel’s upcoming limited series “Echo” for Disney+ He also wrote for Showtime’s “Yellowjackets,” for which he earned two Writers Guild Award nominations.