LaKeith Stanfield, the Oscar-nominated star of “Judas and the Black Messiah” and “Atlanta,” has joined Raoul Peck’s “Ernest Cole: Lost and Found.” The upcoming documentary chronicles the life and work of Ernest Cole, one of the first Black freelance photographers in South Africa, whose early pictures showed Black life under apartheid. They were images that shocked the world.
Stanfield will be the voice of Cole, helping to bring his words to life on screen. Magnolia acquired North American rights from Range Media Partners and is planning a theatrical release for later this year. Peck is an acclaimed filmmaker. His credits include “I Am Not Your Negro,” an Oscar-nominated look at writer and activist James Baldwin, and the HBO documentary miniseries, “Exterminate All the Brutes,” which received a Peabody Award. Magnolia released “I Am Not Your Negro.” Stanfield’s other credits include “Get Out,” “Knives Out” and “Haunted Mansion.”
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Cole fled South Africa in 1966 and lived in exile in the U.S., where he photographed extensively in New York City, as well as the American South, fascinated by the ways that the country mirrored his homeland’s segregated culture. During this period, he published a book of photographs denouncing the apartheid, “House of Bondage.” Banned in South Africa, it nonetheless cemented Cole’s place as one of the great photographers of his time. After his death, more than 60,000 of his 35mm film negatives were discovered in a bank vault in Stockholm, Sweden. Peck’s film will tell Cole’s story through his writings, the recollections of those closest to him, and the images he captured with his camera. The hope, the filmmakers say, is to reintroduce “a pivotal Black artist to a new generation.”
“I have long admired the peerless Raoul Peck’s singular body of work,” Stanfield said. “I’m honored to have the opportunity to collaborate with him on ensuring Ernest Cole’s essential story is heard.”
The production has the full collaboration of the Ernest Cole Family Estate, which is helmed by Cole’s nephew Leslie Matlaisane. It has granted Peck exclusive access to the totality of the family’s archive, including images never previously seen by the public.
The film is produced by Peck and Tamara Rosenberg (“O.J.: Made in America”). Mk2 Films has international rights. Stanfield is represented by CAA, Stark Management, ID and Ginsburg Daniels Kallis. Peck is represented by Range Media Partners and Del Shaw Moonves Tanaka Finkelstein Lezcano Bobb & Dang.
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