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“Not all the losses are the same. Only the ones that stop you from ever fighting make you a loser.” That’s John Boyega in Imperial Dreams, Netflix’s new original film.
Filmed on location in the Imperial Courts projects outside Los Angeles, Imperial Dreams is a gangster fairy tale about a father’s struggle to build a better life for his son. Boyega plays Bambi, a 21-year-old reformed gangster, whose devotion to his family is put to the test when he is released from prison and returns to his old stomping grounds.
The movie, which is co-written by Ismet Prcic and Malik Vitthal, marks the directorial debut of the latter. Indeed, the film premiered back in 2014 at the Sundance Film Festival, under its NEXT banner, which showcases indie films by often new filmmakers. The film was developed at the 2011 Sundance Screenwriters Lab, where it received the Time Warner Storytelling Grant, the Lynn Auerbach Screenwriting Fellowship, and the Zygmunt and Audrey Wilf Foundation Award. It has gone on to play numerous other festivals and garner additional awards, including the Audience Award at Mill Valley Film Festival and the New Orleans Film Festival.
What it hasn’t gone on to do, though, is score a distribution deal – until now.
Netflix has snapped up the movie to join its growing line-up of Netflix originals. Sundance, in particular, is a major stomping ground for streaming services, with films such as Manchester by the Sea acquired by Amazon last year and Netflix already signing up projects this year that include Macon Blair’s directorial debut, I Don’t Feel at Home in This World Anymore, and Cate Shortland’s new film, Berlin Syndrome.
Three years on from its premiere, the movie arrives after John Boyega has shot to stardom, following his breakout role in Attack the Block and standout lead role in Star Wars: The Force Awakens. Imperial Dreams premieres on 3rd February, finally giving the world the answer to the question of what Finn did before Episode VII, and finally giving Vitthal and co.’s movie a global audience.
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