Amazon inks first look deal with Forest Whitaker and Nina Yang Bongiovi
James R | On 03, Aug 2019
Amazon has inked a first look deal with Forest Whitaker and Nina Yang Bongiovi’s Significant Productions.
The agreement will see the company will work with Amazon Studios to develop new TV series. Co-founders and producing partners Whitaker and Bongiovi first teamed up in 2010 to develop and produce high quality content with a focus on diversity and inclusivity in front of and behind the camera.
Whitaker is an Academy Award winner and one of Hollywood’s most accomplished figures. He is respected globally as an actor, producer, director and humanitarian. He founded the Whitaker Peace & Development Initiative, which works with youths in global conflict zones alongside the United Nations. He is also a UNESCO Special Envoy for Peace and Reconciliation, and a mentor to filmmakers and storytellers.
Yang Bongiovi is a board member of Film Independent, The Oscar Grant Foundation, Coalition of Asian Pacifics in Entertainment (CAPE), The Producers Guild of America (PGA), as well as a member of The Academy of Motion Pictures Arts & Sciences’ (AMPAS) Producers Branch. She is fluent in Mandarin, Chinese and received her graduate degree in Entertainment Management from the Annenberg School at the University of Southern California.
Significant Productions’ projects include feature films, documentaries, television and digital ventures, which all strive to be at the forefront of discovering emerging talent, like that of director Ryan Coogler whose first film, Fruitvale Station, was produced by Whitaker and Yang Bongiovi and released in 2013, creating immense cultural impact in the entertainment community.
Together, Whitaker and Yang Bongiovi have championed a number of critically acclaimed and monetarily successful films, including Dope (2015) by Rick Famuyiwa, Songs My Brothers Taught Me (2015) by Chloe Zhao, Roxanne Roxanne (2018) by Michael Larnell, and Sorry To Bother You (2018) by Boots Riley, all of which debuted at the Sundance Film Festival in U.S. Dramatic Competition over the past five years. Currently, Yang Bongiovi and Whitaker are executive producing, and Whitaker is also starring in, the premium series Godfather of Harlem, which will premiere on EPIX this autumn.
“Significant Productions, fuelled by the vision of Forest Whitaker and Nina Yang Bongiovi, has given a platform to emerging talent and created brilliant, critically acclaimed, and commercially successful projects across film and television,” says Albert Cheng, COO and Co-Head of Television, Amazon Studios. “We are looking forward to working with Significant Productions as they continue to develop fresh voices to tell even more important, inclusive stories.”
“Teaming up with Amazon Studios for our producing endeavors in television empowers us to amplify what we’ve been building these last nine years. Championing inclusive stories as wells as diverse talent and creators is in our DNA, and creating cultural impact is our brand. Having Albert Cheng, Vernon Sanders and Jennifer Salke in our corner is truly remarkable. We’re thrilled to join the extraordinary roster of talent at the studio,” add Whitaker and Yang Bongiovi in a joint statement.