Premium cable net HBO has boarded filmmaker Muta’Ali’s Storm Over Brooklyn, the winning project that took home top prize in the inaugural Feature Documentary Initiative from esteemed prodco Lightbox and the American Black Film Festival (ABFF).
Storm Over Brooklyn tells the story of Yusuf Hawkins, a black 16-year-old who was shot to death after being trapped by a gang of white youths in Bensonhurst, Brooklyn, on August 23, 1989. Hawkins had come to the town with three friends to look at a used car when they were attacked by the group, whose members mistakenly believed Hawkins to be dating a neighborhood girl who was white. The murder shook New York and upped racial tension in an already divided city, which inevitably led to televised protests and marches. The unrest led to the ousting of New York City Mayor Ed Koch in favor of David Dinkins, who became the city’s first and only African American mayor.
Storm Over Brooklyn is directed by Ali (pictured) and executive produced by Jeff Friday, and Lightbox founders Simon Chinn and Jonathan Chinn. Academy Award-winning directors Daniel Lindsay and TJ Martin, who directed Lightbox’s Emmy Award-winning feature documentary LA 92, have also joined the project as executive producers.
Ali’s idea was selected from more than 300 submissions to the ABFF Lightbox Documentary Initiative, which was open to all African-American doc filmmakers and any doc filmmakers interested in stories and themes that speak directly to the African-American experience. The joint venture between Lightbox and ABFF aims to foster diversity in the feature documentary world.
The sophomore year of the Lightbox and the ABFF multi-year program will open for entries on July 18, 2018. Selected films will be developed and produced by Lightbox and ABFF Studios. For more information, click here.