Amazon to release Spike Lee film as first original movie

DetailsMichelle Clancy | 16 July 2015

Amazon Studios has announced plans for its first-ever original movie: Spike Lee's next major film, Chi-Raq.

Chi-Raq will feature Nick Cannon, Wesley Snipes, Jennifer Hudson, Teyonah Parris, DB Sweeney, Harry Lennix, Steve Harris, Angela Bassett, John Cusack and Samuel Jackson. In what will be her breakout-starring role, Teyonah Parris will play the central lead character. Chi-Raq was shot entirely in Chicago and wrapped last week.

Written by Lee and writer/director Kevin Willmott (C.S.A.: Confederate States Of America), and directed by Lee, Chi-Raq will shed light on the serious, but often overlooked issue of violence in inner city Chicago.

"Spike Lee is one of the most distinct and visionary filmmakers of our time," said Ted Hope, head of motion picture production at Amazon Studios. "It would be impossible to find a better filmmaker with whom to launch our studio. He has a unique voice, a distinct eye and he tackles important subjects with humour and heart, pointing to solutions and not exploiting the problems. Chi-Raq may be his greatest, and definitely his boldest film yet - everything about it is distinctive."

Bob Berney, head of marketing and distribution at Amazon Studios, explained: "For Chi-Raq, and for future projects, we will collaborate with a top-tier theatrical distributor who shares our vision and passion. We will work together to craft bold and distinctive marketing and distribution approaches for all our films."

"I'm honoured to be part of the film that will launch Amazon Studios and to tell a story that is so important," Lee said. "Please don't be fooled by the title of Chi-Raq, this new Spike Lee joint will be something very special. We have assembled a stellar cast."