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Songs My Brother Taught Me

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Producers Mollye Asher, Angela C. Lee, Nina Yang Bongiovi, Forest Whitaker

Synopsis

Johnny, a restless Lakota teen, and his spirited little sister Jashaun, live with their troubled mother on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation in South Dakota. While Johnny looks for ways to escape his nihilistic life on the reservation by moving to LA with his girlfriend, Jashaun is holding onto her faith in the community and the simple pleasures she finds there. Things start to change after the funeral of their estranged cowboy father and Johnny’s reckless behavior begins to catch up with him. After finding out about Johnny’s plan to leave, Jashaun wanders away from her ruptured home life, exploring the rodeo world of her late father and forming an unlikely friendship with an ex-con. Jashaun’s spirit is put to the test as she witnesses the self-destructive nature of those around her. While Johnny, who finds himself in a fight he can’t win, is in danger of losing all those he holds dear.

About The Team

Chloé Zhao (Writer, Director, Producer, Editor) Chloé’s 2015 feature debut, Songs My Brothers Taught Me, premiered in US Dramatic Competition at Sundance, Directors’ Fortnight at Cannes, and is a nominated at 2016 Independent Spirit Awards. She was supported by organizations like Sundance Institute, San Francisco Film Society, IFP, Film Independent, Cinereach and Time Warner Foundation and was named one of 25 New Faces of Independent Film by Filmmaker Magazine. Chloé was born in Beijing, received her BA in Politics from Mt. Holyoke College and MFA in Film Production from NYU. She plans to make more films and friends in the American heartland.

Mollye Asher (Producer) Mollye is a New York based producer and two-time Independent Spirit Award nominee. She produced of the SXSW Grand Jury Prize winner, Fort Tilden, distributed by MGM/Orion and She’s Lost Control, which had its World Premiere at the 2014 Berlinale, nominated for two Spirit Awards, and released by Monument Releasing. Mollye is a FIND Producing Lab alum, IFP Narrative Lab alum, TAP fellow, and graduate of NYU’s Graduate Film Program.

Angela C. Lee (Producer) Angela C. Lee is a Los Angeles based producer. Her first feature film, Songs My Brothers Taught Me, premiered in competition at the Sundance Film Festival and in Directors’ Fortnight at Cannes. She is a 2015 Sundance Creative Producing Lab Fellow and has also been supported by Film Independent, IFP, PGA Diversity Workshop and the Center for Asian American Media. Angela is also the Artist Development Manager at Film Independent where she oversees the filmmaker lab programs. A native Chicagoan, Angela graduated from the University of Chicago with a degree in Economics.

Nina Yang Bongiovi (Producer) Nina Yang Bongiovi and her producing partner, Forest Whitaker, run Significant Productions, which strives to be at the forefront of discovering talent, with a focus on diversity. In 2015, they returned to Sundance with two films: Dope by Rick Famuyiwa, and Songs My Brothers Taught Me by Chloé Zhao, in US Dramatic Competition; both films also had their international premieres at Cannes in Directors Fortnight. Nina and Forest also produced the critically acclaimed, Fruitvale Station, by Ryan Coogler, which won The Audience and The Grand Jury Prize at Sundance 2013, alongside 40+ prestigious awards worldwide. Nina is fluent in Mandarin, Chinese and received her graduate degree in Entertainment Management from USC.

Forest Whitaker (Producer) Forest Whitaker is an Academy Award winner, actor, producer, director and philanthropist. Over three decades of breakthrough work, Forest remains one of the most sought after talent in Hollywood and abroad. As a producer, Forest produced the critically acclaimed Fruitvale Station (2013), Songs My Brothers Taught Me (2015) and Dope (2015) — with all three films premiering at Sundance Film Festival in U.S. Dramatic Competition and Cannes Film Festival. Forest is the UNESCO Special Envoy for Peace & Reconciliation and has built global workshops in conflicts zones through his foundation, The Whitaker Peace & Development Initiative. Forest is a champion of unique voices, as well as an influencer in world.

Joshua James Richards (DP) Joshua is an award winning New York based cinematographer from Cornwall in South West England. For his work on Chloé Zhao’s critically acclaimed Songs My Brothers Taught Me (Sundance, Cannes Director’s Fortnight, AFI) Joshua was the winner of the Best Cinematography Debut award at the 2015 Camerimage Film Festival in Poland. His other work has screened at festivals worldwide including Berlin International Film Festival, SXSW, New Directors New Films, Telluride Film Festival and LA Film Festival. Joshua received his MFA in Film Production from Tisch School of the Arts at NYU, and is currently represented by LA based agency Artistry.