EXCLUSIVE: Gravitas Ventures has acquired North American rights to The Killing of Kenneth Chamberlain, writer-director David Midell’s movie about the real-life 2011 fatal shooting of a 68-year-old Black man by police in White Plains, NY. Frankie Faison plays Chamberlain in the pic, which won the jury and audience awards at the 2019 Austin Film Festival where it debuted. Gravitas will now release the film day-and-date in theaters and on-demand on September 17.
The pic tells the story of the final hours of the life of Kenneth Chamberlain Sr., an elderly African-American veteran with bipolar disorder, who was killed during a conflict with police officers who were sent to his home to check on him after his medical alert device was mistakenly activated. Despite Chamberlain informing the officers there was a mistake and he did not have an emergency, they were recorded taunting him, ridiculing his military service and howling racial epithets at him. Eventually, the officers broke his door down and shot him to death.
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“Our goal all along has been to ask important questions about how our criminal justice system treats people of color, people in low income areas, and people living with mental health challenges. We are beyond excited to work with a partner like Gravitas to bring The Killing of Kenneth Chamberlain to North America, and put a very bright spotlight on those questions,” Midell said.
Midell and Enrico Natale of Redbird Entertainment are producers. Executive producers include Morgan Freeman, Lori McCreary, Gary Lucchesi, Sharad Chib, Chris Paladino and Milan Chakraborty. Gravitas Ventures VP Acquisitions Tony Piantedosi negotiated the deal with Voltage Pictures’ Jonathan Deckter.
“David’s film, featuring a career-best performance by Frankie Faison, is a riveting dramatization of a real-life tragedy, and an urgent addition to the engagement of cinema with police reform and racial injustice. We look forward to presenting the film to North American audiences,” Piantedosi said.