Selma Director Ava DuVernay and Star David Oyelowo Re-Team for Hurricane Katrina Drama

By  · Published on January 26th, 2015

Paramount Pictures

We’re huge fans of Selma here at Film School Rejects, in case you didn’t catch that we named it Movie of the Year. We also named its director, Ava DuVernay, Filmmaker of the Year. And while we didn’t choose its Martin Luther King Jr.-portraying star, David Oyelowo, as Performer of the Year, I don’t think he was too far behind Scarlett Johansson. He’s definitely my pick for best actor of 2014, an honor he sadly isn’t even nominated for at the Academy Awards, and someone whose further career I’m excited to follow.

Especially now that one of his future projects reunites him with DuVernay again. The pair previously also collaborated on her award-winning 2013 Sundance sensation Middle of Nowhere. The Wrap reports that she will be directing a romantic drama of her own devise set amidst the events of Hurricane Katrina, and he’s set to produce and star.

There’s not much else to this news, not even a title, but the movie’s plot will involve a love story and a murder mystery. Despite having some historical context, the project sounds quite different from Selma, more of what we’ve seen from DuVernay before she took on a major civil rights story and wound up with a Best Picture Oscar nod. Like Middle of Nowhere was, this next movie will be put out by Participant Media, and this time they’re on board to produce, as well.

Participant is most known for making and distributing issue films, both documentary and drama varieties. That’s not all they do, though, and so far there’s no indication that this movie will come with a message or call for social action, except that the company’s narrative film head, Jonathan King, acknowledged in a statement that “Hurricane Katrina is one of the most important social and environmental stories of our time.”

Still, Selma could have been just a sappy “important” drama about race, but DuVernay instead made a genuinely powerful and real drama that doesn’t tug or force anything out of us or its characters and situations. Meanwhile, Participant, which surprisingly hasn’t seemed to do anything related to Katrina before outside of producing An Inconvenient Truth, also made one of my other top three dramas of 2014: A Most Violent Year. Basically, I’m already very excited to see this thing, whatever it is.

Christopher Campbell began writing film criticism and covering film festivals for a zine called Read, back when a zine could actually get you Sundance press credentials. He's now a Senior Editor at FSR and the founding editor of our sister site Nonfics. He also regularly contributes to Fandango and Rotten Tomatoes and is the President of the Critics Choice Association's Documentary Branch.