Vertigo Releasing has secured UK and Ireland rights to Channing Godfrey Peoples’ US drama Miss Juneteenth, which debuted at this year’s Sundance Film Festival.
Vertigo secured the deal directly with US producer-financer Ley Line Entertainment and plans to release the film theatrically and on digital platforms on September 18.
It will also release the film in South Africa while Rialto Distribution will handle Australia and New Zealand, through its ongoing strategic partnership with Vertigo.
The film marks the feature debut of the writer-director who was inspired by her upbringing in Texas where the Miss Juneteenth pageant takes place annually. The day commemorates the end of slavery in 1865 when Union forces arrived in the outpost of Texas and told African-Americans they were free, two years after Abraham Lincoln had issued the Emancipation Proclamation.
The film follows a former beauty queen and single mother, played by Nicole Beharie, who prepares her rebellious teenage daughter, played by newcomer Alexis Chikaeze, for the Miss Juneteenth pageant. The cast also includes Kendrick Sampson.
Miss Juneteenth received its world premiere in competition at Sundance in January and won the Louis Black “Lone Star” Award at SXSW, despite the physical event being cancelled due to the virus crisis.
The feature was produced and financed by Ley Line Entertainment’s Tim Headington and Theresa Steele Page, along with producers Neil Creque Williams, Jeanie Igoe, Toby Halbrooks and James M Johnston of Sailor Bear.
Hollywood talent recently rallied around the June 19 anniversary to call for the recognition of black rights and an end to racism and stereotypes in culture.