Ava DuVernay‘s ARRAY Releasing has added not one, but two titles to its library of dope inclusive films.
The game-chaging collective is putting shine on the South Asian community with its recent acquisition of Sujata Day’s Definition Please and Agam Darshi’s Donkeyhead.
ARRAY has acquired distribution rights to both films in the United States, United Kingdom, Australia and New Zealand, with the additional territory of Canada for Definition Please. Both films are set to debut January 21 on Netflix. The films mark Day and Darshi’s feature directorial debuts.
“ARRAY Releasing is proud to distribute the work of Sujata Day and Agam Darshi, two promising South Asian women filmmakers who both wrote, directed and star in their directorial debuts,” said Tilane Jones, President of ARRAY. “Definition Please and Donkeyhead beautifully showcase the dynamic talent of their creators while sharing the oftentimes humorous dynamics of tradition and culture that film lovers of all kinds can relate to, appreciate and celebrate.”
Real talk: I am more than happy that these two films were acquired because I had the privilege of announcing when they were in development. It’s been wonderful to see the journey of Definition Please as well as Donkeyhead — both of which are sibling-centric stories! More than that, it’s a joy to see different Brown Asian experiences through the lens of two very talented women.
Definition Please follows Monica (Day), a former Scribbs Spelling Bee champion who must reconcile with her estranged brother when he returns home to help care for their sick mother. Definition Please, starring, written, produced and directed by Day, also features Ritesh Rajan (Russian Doll, Jungle Book), Anna Khaja (The Walking Dead: World Beyond), Jake Choi (Single Parents), Lalaine (Lizzie McGuire), with LeVar Burton (Roots, Reading Rainbow), and introducing Maya Kapoor.
The film world premiered at Geena Davis’ Bentonville Film Festival, has screened at the Los Angeles Asian Pacific Film Festival (special jury award for Fresh Narrative Voice), San Diego Asian Film Festival, Hawaii Film Festival, Philadelphia Asian American Film Festival and New York’s Asian American International Film Festival. Day’s roles as an actress include Issa Rae’s web series The Mis-Adventures of Awkward Black Girl‘ and HBO’s Insecure.
Day is a Sundance Lab fellow and Sundance Collab advisor, directed and produced the popular web series This Is My Story, where beloved storyteller LeVar Burton narrates real-life personal experiences of everyday racism. Definition Please is produced by Cameron Fife, Datari Turner, Ritesh Rajan and executive producers Hiren C. Surti, Ahmad Cory Jubran, Rey Cuerdo, Dan Evans III, Mindy Kaling, Lamont Magee and Deric A. Hughes.
Donkeyhead, a term of endearment used by Punjabi parents towards their children, stars its writer/director Darshi as Mona, a failed writer who carves out a life of isolation while caring for her ailing Sikh father. When he suffers a debilitating stroke, her three successful siblings show up on her doorstep determined to take control of the situation.
Donkeyhead stars Darshi, Kim Coates (Sons of Anarchy), Sandy Sidhu (Nurses, Legends of Tomorrow), Stephen Lobo (Arrow), Huse Madhavji (Schitt’s Creek), Marvin Ishmael (Degrassi: The Next Generation), and Balinder Johal (Beeba Boys).
Donkeyhead had its World Premiere at the Mosaic International South Asian Film Festival at TIFF Bell Lightbox in Toronto where it received four awards including Best Fiction Feature and Best Canadian Feature. Darshi was most recently seen in Oscar-nominated director Deepa Mehta’s coming-of-age film Funny Boy (also an ARRAY title) and can next be seen in DuVernay’s upcoming HBO Max series DMZ.
The acquisitions were negotiated by Gordon Bobb of Del, Shaw, Moonves, Tanaka, Finkelstein, and Lezcano on behalf of ARRAY; producers Darshi, Anand Ramayya and Kelly Balon on behalf of Donkeyhead, and Sean Pope of Ramo Law on behalf of Definition Please. Day is repped by WME and Myman Greenspan.