January 31, 2023

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Sundance: Magnolia Pictures d. Smith Purchases Documentary ‘Kokomo City’

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Magnolia Pictures Grammy-nominated producer, singer and songwriter d. Smith has acquired worldwide rights to “Kokomo City,” his feature directorial debut. The deal comes after the film’s world premiere in the Sundance Next category. This marks Magnolia’s second acquisition at the festival, following the pickup of “Little Richard: I’m Everything.”

Smith filmed and edited the appearances of four transgender black sex workers in Atlanta and New York City – Daniella Carter, Coco Da Doll, Leah Mitchell and Dominique Silver. “Kokomo City” is executive produced by Lena Wythe. It will appear on the next screen in the Berlin panorama. Magnolia will release the film in theaters this year.

“‘Kokomo City’ is D. Smith’s groundbreaking cinematic debut,” said Eamonn Bowles, president of Magnolia Pictures. “Hilarious, revelatory and wildly entertaining, and with a soundtrack for the ages, the film shatters preconceived notions and heralds a major multi-talent in the film world. We can’t wait to bring it to audiences.”

“Prior to this film, the trans narrative created barriers that separated us from humanity,” says D. Smith “My hope is that this film will create a chain reaction of people seeing the full humanity of trans women.”

The market at Sundance has been relatively slow this year. Earlier, Netflix picked up rights in the US and numerous international territories for “Run Rabbit Run,” a thriller starring Sarah Snook. But things could be heating up as recent premieres like “Eileen,” a thriller with Anne Hathaway and Thomasine McKenzie, and “Fair Play,” a suspenseful drama with Alden Ehrenreich, pique buyers’ interest.

“Kokomo City” was produced by Smith, Harris Doran and Bill Butler. Executive producers are Waithe, Rishi Rajani, Stacey Barth and William Melillo.

The deal was negotiated by Magnolia EVP Dory Begley and SVP of Acquisitions John Von Thaden. CAA Media Finance represented the filmmakers.

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