Race-Relations Comedy ‘Dear White People’ Acquired by Roadside Attractions, Lionsgate

They take North American rights to Justin Simien’s satire, winner of a breakthrough award at Sundance

North American rights to the comedy “Dear White People,” winner of the Special Jury Award for Breakthrough Talent at this year’s Sundance Film Festival, have been acquired by Lionsgate and Roadside Attractions, the companies said Wednesday.

The satire written and directed by newcomer Justin Simien follows four black students at a fictional Ivy League college, where a riot breaks out over a popular “African American-themed” party thrown by a white fraternity.

Tyler James Williams (“Everybody Hates Chris”), Tessa Thompson (“Veronica Mars”), Teyonah Parris (“Mad Men”), and Brandon P Bell (“Hollywood Heights”) lead the ensemble cast of newcomers.

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“Dear White People” is produced by Effie T. Brown of Duly Noted Inc. and Code Red Productions’ Julia Lebedev. Stephanie Allain of Homegrown Pictures and Leonid Lebedev executive produce, with Simien, Angel Lopez, Ann Le and Lena Waithe also producing.

Justin Simien is a funny, fresh and current voice with his finger on the Millennials’ pulse,” said Roadside Attractions’ co-president Howard Cohen. “His crowd-pleasing ‘Dear White People’ took Sundance by storm, with its sly and extremely topical satire sparking conversations about our supposed ‘post-racial’, 21st century America.”

The deal was negotiated by Marc Danon and Jean Chi on behalf of Lionsgate and Roadside Attractions, and by WME Global and attorney Irwin M. Rappaport on behalf of the filmmakers.