How the cast of ‘Judas and the Black Messiah’ gave back to Cleveland

SOURCE: WKYC 3 Studios | Megan Gallagher
February 12, 2021

CLEVELAND — “Judas and the Black Messiah,” a movie adapted from a screenplay written by King and Will Berson and based on the story of the betrayal of Chicago Black Panther Fred Hampton in the late 1960s, is now out in theaters and streaming on HBO Max.

A majority of the film was shot in Cleveland in 2019, and stars actors like Lakeith Stanfield of FX’s “Atlanta,” Daniel Kaluuya from “Get Out” and Black Panther,” and Jesse Plemons of “Breaking Bad.” It also gave so many budding Cleveland actors a chance to stay in such a large film.

The cast and crew took in the city as they filmed, so much so that they also took time to give back. A majority of them stopped by the Boys and Girls Club of Northeast Ohio.




Cleveland International Film Festival unveils theme for 2021 virtual edition: ‘Bring Film Home’

The campaign “celebrates the connections we will form – even while we remain physically apart – when viewing the extraordinary on-screen stories created by our CIFF45 Streams filmmakers,” the Cleveland International Film Festival said in a press release.











SOURCE: | Joey Morona
February 12, 2021

CLEVELAND, Ohio — “Bring Film Home.” That is the theme for the 45th annual Cleveland International Film Festival, which is being held virtually for the second straight year.

The logo for the festival, known as CIFF45 Streams, was unveiled Friday. Created by the graphic design team at Type Twenty Seven, the logo depicts movie marquees attached to people’s houses and apartment buildings.



Jessica Goldberg and Angela Russo-Otstot on co-writing the Russo Brothers’ ‘Cherry’







SOURCE: Final Draft | Vanessa King
February 10, 2021

Apple TV+’s new crime drama Cherry is a film directed by Anthony and Joe Russo (best known for their directorial work on multiple films within the Marvel universe) and from a screenplay written by Angela Russo-Otstot and Jessica Goldberg, adapted from the novel of the same name, a semi-autobiographical work by author Nico Walker. Cherry is a compelling film that stars Tom Holland as an army veteran who resorts to robbing banks to support his opioid addiction.

When the Russos acquired this project, Angela says, “We’re from Cleveland, so it’s a personal story.”



Cleveland ranks No. 14 on MovieMaker’s list of the best places for filmmakers to live and work

SOURCE: News 5 Cleveland | Kaylyn Hlavaty
January 27, 2021

CLEVELAND — Lights, camera, Cleveland.

Ranking 14th out of 25 cities, Cleveland has been named one of MovieMaker’s Best Places to live and work as a moviemaker in 2021, according to the Greater Cleveland Film Commission.

Since 2009, over 150 productions have filmed in Northeast Ohio.

While Los Angeles and New York City will always be known as notable movie cities, MovieMaker said strict lockdowns due to the coronavirus have opened up filmmakers to other cities for filming.



Best Places to Live and Work as a Moviemaker, 2021







SOURCE: MovieMaker | January 26, 2021

This year’s list of the Best Places to Live and Work as a Moviemaker is different than any we’ve done before, because never have so many moviemakers seriously considered changing their lives dramatically — starting with where they live.

Best Places Hall of Famers Los Angeles and New York City will always be our greatest movie cities, and the strong lockdowns they’ve instituted over the last year will make them stronger in the long run. But in the short term, they’re losing people to other great film cities, as many who have spent months inside insist on more space, lower housing costs, and more great outdoors.



‘Judas and the Black Messiah’ producer Charles D. King on the ‘divine’ timing of telling this story amid the BLM movement [EXCLUSIVE VIDEO INTERVIEW]

SOURCE: Gold Derby | Daniel Montgomery
January 26, 2021

For producer Charles D. King, it’s “truly divine” to bring “Judas and the Black Messiah” to the screen at a time when its story is so relevant in contextualizing the current Black Lives Matter movement, especially when it comes to America’s reckoning with policing and the justice system. Watch our exclusive video interview with King above.

“Judas” tells the true story of Fred Hampton (played by Daniel Kaluuya), the chairman of the Chicago Black Panther Party who was plotted against and ultimately assassinated by the FBI in 1969 when he was just 21-years-old. King only had “peripheral” knowledge of Hampton before making the film, which highlights “how he was building together and galvanizing a coalition of oppressed communities from all backgrounds in Chicago” and “how he still resonates even to this day.”



MovieMaker Magazine ranks Cleveland as 14th best place for filmmakers to live and work

Cleveland came in 14th place in the magazine’s annual ranking. (Photo by Rich Exner, Exner,









SOURCE: | Anne Nickoloff
January 26, 2021

CLEVELAND, Ohio — MovieMaker Magazine has recognized Cleveland in its 2021 rankings of the best cities to live and work as a moviemaker. The publication put Cleveland in 14th place out of 25 cities.

The rankings put Albuquerque, New Mexico in first place, followed by Atlanta, Austin and Chicago. Cleveland and Cincinnati were the only two Ohio cities listed in the rankings; Cincinnati was ranked just ahead of Cleveland, in 13th place.



‘Judas and the Black Messiah’ production designer Sam Lisenco: Staying true to history with the excitement of an action thriller [EXCLUSIVE VIDEO INTERVIEW]

SOURCE: Gold Derby | Daniel Montgomery
January 25, 2021

For “Judas and the Black Messiah” production designer Sam Lisenco and director Shaka King, “a big factor … in the development of the look of the movie was, how can we make this as truthful as possible, but keep in mind the kinds of action movies that make the medicine go down a little easy?” Watch our exclusive video interview with Lisenco above.

“Judas” tells the true story of Chicago Black Panthers leader Fred Hampton(played by Daniel Kaluuya), who was assassinated by the FBI in 1969. But Lisenco and King wanted to create a look reminiscent not just of the history of Chicago in the 1960s, but of thrillers from the period like “The Hot Rocks” and “The Seven-Ups.” “If we started to explore those kinds of genre-normative cues, even subconsciously, we would be able to come up with a language that was much more entertaining while being as historically accurate as possible.”



How the Russo Family Switched From Superheroes to America’s Opioid Crisis With ‘Cherry’

The Hollywood Reporter Illustration







SOURCE: The Hollywood Reporter | Mia Galuppo
January 25, 2020

For their adaptation of Nico Walker’s semi-autobiographical novel — their gritty follow-up to the ground- and record-breaking ‘Avengers:  Endgame’ — directors Joe  and  Anthony Russo homed in on addiction and PTSD, tapping their younger sister, Angela  Russo-Otstot, to co-write the script in this family affair: “You have to submit the ego to the collective.”

After wrapping the biggest film franchise of all time with Marvel’s Avengers: Endgame, Anthony and Joe Russo wanted to go back home. Set in their native Ohio, Cherry, out Feb. 26 via Apple TV+, is their first non-superpowered project in more than a half-decade. Tom Holland stars as a young Iraq veteran, known in the movie as Cherry, whose battle with opioid addiction leads him to become a serial bank robber. For the personal project, the Russo brothers teamed with their sister, Angela Russo-Otstot, who co-scripted the adaptation of the semi-autobiographical novel by Nico Walker, who wrote the book while serving a prison sentence for bank robbery.

The siblings talked to The Hollywood Reporter about how social media — for better and worse — influenced the movie and their hopes of appealing to Gen Z audiences.



AFI AWARDS 2020 Honorees Announced







SOURCE: American Film Institute
January 25, 2021

Today, AFI announced the recipients of the 2020 AFI AWARDS. AFI’s global Movie Club program will showcase the official selections beginning in February, with new and exclusive content released daily, including special guests from the honored works introducing the titles and AFI “Behind the Scene” conversations with filmmakers and actors. Sign up to be the first to receive exclusive AFI AWARDS content here.