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Tuesday, September 15, 2020

Oscar-Winning Charles Burnett to Direct Documentary About MLK’s 5-Day Visit to Hawaii

“A King in Paradise” Will Explore the Untold Journey of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s Five Days in Hawaii

Created by Professor Steven Cleveland and Produced by Tamika Lamison

Charles Burnett, director of 'A King in Paradise'

Los Angeles, CA — Many can recall the leis worn by Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and others as they crossed the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma, Alabama in 1965, but few know that the story began in 1959 as a part of Hawaii’s statehood celebration. A King in Paradise is a new film, currently in early production, that seeks to re-trace Dr. King’s journey by traveling to the places and speaking with the people who were present during his visit.

The film will be viewed from the perspective of three generations: Those alive during Dr. King’s 1959 visit to Hawaii, the generation that followed, and subsequent generations. Thus, A King in Paradise will address the past 50 years while also remaining current and drawing parallels to the current resurgence of the Black Lives Matter movement and the racial injustices faced by African Americans to this day.

Current documentaries and other scripted series about racial topics have garnered critical and commercial acclaim in a way that few race-related films have before; A King in Paradise will parallel these successful formulas to capture attention across the country and world. Springboarding from the momentum of the current movement to create socio-economic equality, A King in Paradise will serve a deep need for inspiration and reflection provided by the greatest proponent for equality in American history: Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., himself.

For more information or to support the documentary’s crowdfunding campaign, visit: AKingInParadise.com


Available for Press Interviews:

Charles Burnett:
Charles Burnett is an Academy Award winning writer-director. Born in Vicksburg, Mississippi, and raised in the Watts neighborhood of Los Angeles, California. Burnett studied creative writing at UCLA before entering the University’s graduate film program. His thesis project, Killer of Sheep (1977), won accolades at film festivals and a critical devotion; in 1990, it was among the first titles named to the Library of Congress’ National Film Registry. European financing allowed Burnett to shoot his second feature, My Brother’s Wedding (1983). In 1988, Burnett was awarded the prestigious John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur (“Genius Grant”) Fellowship and shortly thereafter Burnett became the first African American recipient of the National Society of Film Critics’ best screen-play award, for To Sleep with Anger (1990). Burnett has been awarded grants from the Guggenheim Foundation, the Rockefeller Foundation, the National Endowment for the Arts and the J. P. Getty Foundation. In 2011, the Museum of Modern Art showcased his work with a month-long retrospective.

Professor Steven Cleveland:
Steven was born into financial hardship in Birmingham, Alabama. Seeking more robust opportunities, his family headed out west and eventually settled into the Bay Area. From these humble beginnings, Steven graduated from UCLA and USC in Los Angeles, the first of his family to go to college. Attending college transformed Steven’s world-view by opening him up to many possibilities, but when he returned home, he was hit with a different message of hopelessness. Aiming to change that message, Steven uses film and education as the catalyst for reform. After cutting his teeth in production on music videos for such artists as Dr. Dre, Tupac Shakur, and Mandy Moore, he executive produced commercials and music videos for the likes of the Old Lahaina Luau Company and Grammy Award Nominee Ledisi. He then began to develop a media-based service-learning curriculum aimed at producing high-quality media by pairing professionals with youth. At Cal State University – East Bay, Steven is a Black Studies Professor in the Department of Ethnic Studies, a Black, Indigenous, People of Color (BIPOC) Professor in the Department of History and an African American Faculty Fellow at the Diversity and Inclusion Student Center. Currently, Steven resides in Los Angeles where he wakes up every day working to infuse Black Humanity into a variety of media projects.

Tamika Lamison:
Tamika is an award-winning actor, writer, director, and producer who has produced/written/directed many shorts, features, and documentaries including, but not limited to: Last Life, Spin, Hope, The 3rd Era of Medicine, The Male Groupie, and Sex & Violence or: A Brief Review of Simple Physics. Her first script, The Jar By The Door, was a Sundance Finalist and won several awards including IFP’s Gordon Parks Indie Film Award. She was also the Director and DP on BET’s first reality show, College Hill. Graduating from American University and Howard University propelled her into one of her biggest passions: giving back to underrepresented groups within the filmmaking community. Tamika also created, founded, and gave a TEDx Talk on her Make A Film Foundation (MAFF) that grants ‘film wishes’ to children who have serious or life-threatening medical conditions by teaming them with noted actors, writers, and directors who help them create short film legacies. Through MAFF, Tamika has produced several award-winning short films and over 100 short documentaries with the most recent being, The Black Ghiandola directed by Catherine Hardwick, Theodore Melfi, and Sam Raimi. Tamika was recently honored with the ‘Trailblazer Award’ from the Baron Jay Foundation for her various levels of impact and service in the entertainment industry and is presently producer and VP of development at philmcomedia.com.


For press inquiries, contact Anika Jackson at anika@wrightonecomm.com or 310-567-0038