FilmRise Picks Up Will and Jada Smith’s Sprinter


FilmRise has acquired the exclusive U.S. rights to Sprinter, a coming-of-age drama executive produced by Will and Jada Smith.

Sprinter, written and directed by Storm Saulter (Better Mus’ Come), follows Akeem Sharp (Dale Elliott) as he prepares to become Jamaica’s next big track-and-field star while hoping to get the chance to visit the U.S. to reunite with his mother, who has supported the family while living as an illegal resident. The film also stars Kadeem Wilson (Ghett’ A Life), Dennis Titus (The Mighty Quinn), Shantol Jackson (Yardie), Bryshere Y. Gray (Empire), Lorraine Toussaint (Selma, Orange Is the New Black) and David Alan Grier (In Living Color).

The Overbrook Entertainment film was produced by Robert Maylor of Mental Telepathy Pictures. Clarence Hammond, Jamal Watson, NBA veteran Richard Jefferson, Josef Bogdanovich, Zachary Harding, Dr. Lim Dong Pyo and Flipp Montgomery executive produced alongside the Smiths.

Danny Fisher, CEO of FilmRise, said: “FilmRise is thrilled to be making this acquisition announcement at the start of the 2019 Sundance Film Festival, to put a spotlight on the Will and Jada Smith Family Foundation’s partnership with The Sundance Institute Screenwriters’ Intensive, which has helped promote more diversity in filmmaking and films like Sprinter. Sprinter is an important film that we feel a wide audience will connect with and enjoy.”

Jada Pinkett Smith commented: “Sprinter showcases the unbreakable bond between parents and their children, and Will and I are beyond excited to share the film with families everywhere. Sprinter is a testament to the powerful, personal, and universal stories that can be told when underrepresented voices are given access, inclusion and opportunity. We are so proud of this film!”

Maylor added: “Sprinter peeks behind the curtain of Jamaica’s renowned track and field culture while offering a view of its people that is rarely seen on screen. The ‘barrell pickney’ phenomena, where a parent leaves their family behind to provide a better life for them from overseas, is authentic to the experience of modern Caribbean families but representative of many immigrant stories. We are energized by FilmRise’s enthusiasm and can’t wait to bring this film to theaters.”