34th Street Films today announced development of a new feature film project, The Year of the Great Storm. Tyler Perry, Ozzie Areu, and Matt Moore will produce the project alongside Russ Stratton and Johanna Baldwin of Air Extreme Films.
Doug Liman and George C. Wolfe are also attached to the project as executive producers. Stratton, Baldwin, and Liman previously worked together on A&E’s fourteen-episode documentary series, The uneXplained, which focused on metaphysical phenomena.
Karzan Kader is on board to direct. Kader’s short film BEKAS won a Student Academy Award and went on to create a critically acclaimed feature-length film by the same name.
The Year of the Great Storm will tell the true story and legacy of Amy Biehl, an American Fulbright scholar who was living in South Africa during the dangerous and violent days of the armed struggle against Apartheid. After Amy was attacked and stabbed to death by a mob of angry black youths in 1993, her American parents decided to attend the trial of her daughter’s killers. They remained in South Africa and began a grassroots effort to bring about change in the movement. Eventually the family supported their daughter’s killers’ application to South Africa’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission for political amnesty and later two of those same men joined the efforts of the Amy Biehl Foundation. The film will paint a vivid picture of a country nearing civil war as it struggled with its national destiny in a desperate fight to end decades of systematic racism.
“We’re thrilled to be tackling this difficult but inspiring subject matter with an incredible director, writer, and team of producers,” said Ozzie Areu, President of Tyler Perry Studios. “The story of the Biehl family’s journey is one of courage, compassion, and redemption, and we are humbled that they have allowed us unfettered access to bring their lives to the big screen.”
In addition to producing, Johanna Baldwin penned the script. Baldwin has been following the Amy Biehl story since Amy’s death twenty years ago. After meeting Amy’s family in 1996, Baldwin has been working closely with them to track their story over time and has had exclusive access to the family as well as two of the men responsible for her murder. Her other writing credits include the play A Childproof Room at the Martha’s Vineyard Playhouse, directed by Doug Liman and starring Tony Shalhoub, in addition to the film Venus & Mars for BBC ONE. Her debut novel, All (Wo)men Desire To Know, will be published March 16 of this year.
Perry is represented by WME and Ziffren Brittenham. Kader is represented by WME.
WME is packaging the project.
Tyler Perry Studios (TPS) was formed by actor and filmmaker Tyler Perry in the fall of 2008. The studio develops and produces motion picture films, in addition to drama and comedy television programming for the multi-platform U.S. television market. The 200,000 square foot studio lot is situated on the former Delta Airlines campus of more than 30 acres in the Greenbriar area of southwest Atlanta. The studio consists of five sound stages, a post production facility, a pond, a back lot, a 400-seat theater, a private screening room, and designated areas for entertaining and hosting events. Since its opening, Perry and the studio’s 400 Atlanta-based employees have been hard at work in production of over fifteen films and five television series, with over 90 total episodes per year. In 2015 TPS announced plans to expand operations with the acquisition of Fort McPherson, adding another 330 acres to create another major movie production studio lot.
About Air Extreme Films
Doug Liman & Russ Stratton co-founded Air Extreme Films in 2007. The New York based production company focuses on film, television and documentaries celebrating true-life stories. Together, Liman, Stratton & Baldwin produced the hit docu-series for A&E Networks, The uneXplained, that continues to broadcast worldwide.