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Sundance Preview – “Night Catches Us” (Anthony Mackie & Kerry Washington Are Former Panthers In Love)


The first highlight from the list of feature narrative films that will screen in next month’s Sundance Film Festival (a list which I posted in its entirety earlier on today, and which you can read HERE), is a film we’ve covered previously on this blog – so hat/tip goes to the Shadow And Act crew for being so prescient :D

Alright, so, maybe not quite. But it’s a film you should already be somewhat familiar with for that reason.

It’s called Night Catches Us – previously known as Stringbean And Marcus! It stars Anthony Mackie, Kerry Washington, Jamie Hector, and Wendell Pierce.

Directly from the press release sent to me by Ron Simons, the producer of the film: Set in Philadelphia in 1978, Night Catches Us focuses on two former Black Panthers, Marcus (Mackie) and Pat (Washington), who reignite a love affair when Marcus returns home after a decade in exile.

Pat’s ten-year-old daughter Iris (newcomer Jamara Griffin) at first rejects Marcus’ return, but soon discovers a kindred spirit in a man who can fill in the missing pieces of her family history. This peace is threatened by a triangle of opposing forces: local Panther leader Do-Right (Hector), who wants to settle past debts with Marcus; Detective Gordon (Pierce), who tries to blackmail him; and Jimmy (Off-Broadway sensation Amari Cheatom), a troubled client of Pat’s pro bono law practice, who takes a twisted idea of Panther justice into his own hands.

The community is thrown into chaos, as racial conflict explodes and Marcus is forced to confront the truth about what had kept him on the run for so many years.

In the meantime, here’s a profile of the film by a Philly TV station which occurred when the film was still in production:

The film was directed by Tanya Hamilton – a Sundance Institute Annenberg Feature Film Fellow grant winner for the film’s screenplay. Earlier, she was selected to develop the film at the Sundance Writing and Director Labs, and received a PEW Fellowship of the Arts Award, IFP’s Gordon Parks Award for Best Screenplay, a 5-County Arts Grant of the Philadelphia Cultural Alliance, and a Pennsylvania Council on the Arts Fellowship.

Hamilton’s first film, the 1995 short The Killers, earned her the Berlin International Film Festival’s award for Best Short Film, the New Line Cinema award, and a Director’s Guild of America Award for Best Female Director.

So, by all accounts, given the talent involved in the making of this film, both in front, and behind the camera, Night Catches Us should be a winner, and I’ll throw it up on my list of films to see in 2010. I won’t be making it to the Sundance Film Festival next year, so I won’t be present for the film’s premiere screenings, but I certainly hope it plays at other festivals – specifically festivals in New York – or that it gets picked up for distribution, so that I can eventually see it. Unless of course I’m able to snag a screener DVD somehow before then.

I’ll keep you posted.

In the meantime, here’s a profile of the production done by a Philly TV station from earlier this year:

2 comments to Sundance Preview – “Night Catches Us” (Anthony Mackie & Kerry Washington Are Former Panthers In Love)

  • Nice coverage. I went to an early reading of the script when Yolanda Ross and Mos Def were attached to play the leads. Seems like they might’ve expanded Kerry Washington’s part as literally Stringbean (the Kid) and Marcus were the focus before. Either way, even though i can’t see Kerry Washington as an ex-Panther, I hope it’s executed well.

  • I can’t wait for this film; this looks like a winner and on a superficial note, Kerry’s hair looks so cute. She can work a afro and Mackie has a dreamy accent. Love me some Louisiana Twang!