Gravitas Ventures will release director/producer Lanie Zipoy’s (“17 Things I Wish I Could Tell You Since You Died,” “Kid Sister”) gripping and impactful feature film directorial debut The Subject, in theaters in more than 10 markets beginning with Los Angeles, New York, Boston, Seattle and Detroit, among many more, and across TVOD/Digital platforms throughout North America – all beginning on October 22nd, 2021.
Zipoy’s The Subject follows a successful white documentary filmmaker dealing with the fallout from his previous film which caught the murder of a Black teen on tape.
The Subject stars Jason Biggs (“Orange is the New Black,” and “American Pie”), Aunjanue Ellis (“If Beale Street Could Talk,” and Emmy nominee for “Lovecraft Country”), Anabelle Acosta (“Quantico,” “Ballers”),along with Carra Patterson (“Straight Outta Compton,” and Disney Plus’ “Turner & Hooch”), Nile Bullock (“Ray Donovan,” “Bull”), and Caleb Eberhardt (“Judas and the Black Messiah,” “The Post”).
The Subject is America today. America 2020. America 2014. America 1992. America 1968. America 1919. America 1865. America 1619. Chisa Hutchinson’s (upcoming: Showtime’s “Three Women” and Hulu’s “Tell Me Lies”) incisive layered screenplay was written in 2010 and finds its way in the world at a time when the themes it unpacks – Black Lives Matter, interrogation of white savior-hood and white supremacy, and the ethics/responsibilities of artists – are pivotally central to conversations and protests around the United States. The Subject adds to those conversations and will encourage thoughtful debate around these issues at a time when thoughtful debate is most needed.
“This is a film about all the nuanced little ways in which notions of supremacy distance white people from other humans,” says screenwriter Chisa Hutchinson. “It’s a long ramp with a barely perceptible incline that ultimately leads to someone standing by and watching while a black person is killed. Or maybe even doing the killing.”
The Subject is shot on four different cameras–one for the documentary about Malcolm, one for Phil’s new documentary footage, the narrative camera and a consumer camera that is used to record Phil. Each camera offers a different viewpoint on the world, coalescing into a film that asks us how exactly we belong to each other in this fractured world. The Subject is a film that stay with you long after you have seen it. Films like this encourage late-night discussions – that make you grapple with your soul. A film that you can’t shake, even if you want to.
“When speaking about The Subject, it is often assumed to be an actual documentary because the film hews close to life as we know it,” says director Lanie Zipoy. “It is achingly real, and more heartbreaking by the day. I am grateful to Chisa for her bold script and the actors for their amazing commitment to tell a delicate, yet hard-hitting story.”
Phil Waterhouse (Jason Biggs) is a successful documentary filmmaker with a thriving career, brilliant girlfriend and a lovely suburban home. His last film –The Price of Brotherhood – was a rousing critical and commercial success. During its making, though, baby-faced Harlem teenager Malcolm was murdered. Now, journalists, who once lauded him, hound Phil about his role in Malcolm’s death, and he is haunted by fears he could have prevented it. While working on his latest project, someone films his every move. With the tables turned, Phil is unnerved being the subject of someone else’s movie. As his world collapses around him, he preps for a showdown with the person who threatens all that he holds dear.
The Subject has won more than 30 awards at film festivals around the globe including Best Film – BronzeLens Film Festival, California Women’s Film Festival, Catalina Film Festival, DC Black Film Festival, Denton Black Film Festival, Lighthouse International Film Festival, Madrid Film Awards, Milan International Film Festival, Stony Brook Film Festival, and The Art of Brooklyn Film Festival; Best Thriller Feature Film –- Berlin Independent Film Festival; Spotlight Feature Award – Loudoun Arts Film Festival; Best Feature (2nd Place) – Capital City Black Film Festival; Audience Award for Best Film – Capital City Black Film Festival, Naples International Film Festival, and Sedona International Film Festival; Best Director – Newark International Film Festival, The Art of Brooklyn Film Festival; Mira Nair Award for Rising Female Filmmaker – Harlem International Film Festival; Best Actor (Jason Biggs) – Boden International Film Festival, Breck Film Festival, California Women’s Film Festival, Loudoun Arts Film Festival, Milan International Film Festival, Nice International Film Festival, Jury Award for Best Performance – San Antonio Film Festival; Best Actress (Aunjanue Ellis) – DC Black Film Festival, Newark International Film Festival, Best Feature Performance – The Art of Brooklyn Film Festival, Special Mention for Outstanding Performance – Loudoun Arts Film Festival, Best Supporting Actress (Aunjanue Ellis) – California Women’s Film Festival; and Best Original Feature Screenplay (Chisa Hutchinson) – Nice International Film Festival.