The Land manages to capture the creative with the crude. Visually inviting cinematography, a solid script and a more than capable cast puts viewers in the ‘thick’ of one young man’s fictional story inspired by real-life events. Its’ unapologetic prose and gritty by nature storyline yields an authenticity found missing in many of the urban street-life dramas currently on the market. Director/Writer, Stephen Caple Jr. delivered a film shot independently without the low-budget and underdeveloped after-taste – a feat not easily accomplished as a relative ‘newbie’ to the movie industry.
A second layer of artistry is masterfully interwoven vis-a-vis the film’s soundtrack. It’s the first for Nasir ‘Nas’ Jones’ label. Sonically speaking, the onion analogy applies while giving a well-deserved nod to the enlistment of Erykah Badu and Machine Gun Kelly into the executive production team. The tracks journey from ‘bright’ highs to ‘blue’ lows in parallel with the films’ plot.
What’s left is a portfolio piece from the director’s heart that speaks to a diverse audience. The Land’s unpretentiousness will lend it to reach the masses in a artful way. We look forward to heeding future work from this budding director, talented cast and outstanding production team.
Synopsis: Executive producer Nas presents this vivid inner-city saga set amidst Cleveland’s hip-hop underground. Teenage buddies Cisco (Jorge Lendeborg Jr.), Junior (Moises Arias), Boobie (Ezri Walker), and Patty Cake (Rafi Gavron) shrug off school to practice skateboarding, which they hope will be their ticket to a better life. In the meantime, they steal cars to finance their dream. But when they get mixed up in a drug deal and cross a ruthless crime queen-pin (Linda Emond), they put their friendship—and lives—on the line. Set to a choice hip-hop soundtrack and featuring an impressive ensemble cast that includes The Wire’s Michael K. Williams, Erykah Badu, and rapper Machine Gun Kelly, The Land crackles with the energy and poetry of the streets.
Starring: Erykah Badu, Michael Kenneth Williams, Jorge Lendeborg Jr., Moises Arias, Rafi Gavron, Ezri Walker, Kim Coates, Linda Emond, Natalie Martinez and Melvin Gregg
- Executive Produced by Nasir “Nas” Jones
- Written & Directed by Award-Winning Filmmaker Steven Caple Jr.
- IFC Films’ THE LAND is currently playing in New York & Los Angeles at select theaters with a national rollout to follow
- Available on VOD/iTunes on August 4th
- *2016 Sundance Film Festival-Official Selection*
ERYKAH BADU, Turquoise
The New York Times described Badu’s groundbreaking debut, 1997’s Baduizm, as “traditional soul vocals, staccato hip-hop rhythms and laid-back jazzy grooves. Propelled by the lead single On & On, the album went multi-platinum, winning her two Grammys for Best Female R&B Vocal Performance and Best R&B Album. Badu topped Rolling Stone’s Reader’s poll for Best R&B Artist, and Entertainment Weekly named her Best New Female Singer of 1997. The same year her second LP, 1997’s Live, was released in the U.S. Live rode the wave of Baduizm’s success, going double-platinum. Badu’s big screen debut as Rose Rose in the 1999 film The Cider House Rules added another credit to her brown bag of artistic miscellany. And in 2000, she opened her trophy cabinet once again to welcome a Grammy award for Best Rap Performance by a Duo or Group for her appearance on You Got Me by The Roots.
In 2008, Badu presented her own offering for the evolving times with her fourth studio album, New Amerykah Part One: 4th World War, which debuted at No. 2 on the Billboard 200 chart. Rolling Stone named it one of the year’s best albums. In 2010, Badu announced yet another new arrival: New Amerykah Part Two: Return Of The Ankh.
MICHAEL KENNETH WILLIAMS, Pops
Michael Kenneth Williams is best known for his remarkable work on The Wire, which ran for five seasons on HBO. The wit and humor that Williams brought to Omar, the whistle-happy, profanity-averse, drug dealer-robbing stickup man, earned him high praise and made Omar one of television’s most memorable characters.
Williams co-starred in HBO’s critically acclaimed series Boardwalk Empire, which premiered in 2010. In the Martin Scorsese and Terence Winter produced show, Williams played Chalky White, a 1920’s bootlegger; and the impeccably suited, veritable mayor of the Atlantic City’s African-American community. In 2012, Boardwalk Empire won a Screen Actors Guild Award for “Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Drama Series.” Of late, Michael was seen in Jose Padilha’s remake of Robocop starring with Joel Kinnaman, Gary Oldman and Michael Keaton, and in a supporting role in the Oscar-winning Steve McQueen film 12 Years A Slave with Michael Fassbender and Brad Pitt. He appeared in The Purge: Anarchy, the successful sequel to the box office booming The Purge, as the revolutionary leader Carmelo Johns. Williams recently wrapped the Paul Feig directed Ghostbusters reboot opposite Melissa McCarthy, Kristen Wiig, Kate McKinnon, Leslie Jones and Chris Hemsworth. Williams is currently shooting New Regency’s Assassin’s Creed opposite Michael Fassbender and Marion Cotillard. Assassin’s Creed, which is based on the popular video game and being directed by Justin Kurzel.
Michael Kenneth Williams resides in Brooklyn, New York.
JORGE LENDEBORG JR., Cisco
Jorge Lendeborg comes to acting and entertainment naturally. His father George Lendeborg, Sr. is a director and actor trained in The Lee Strasberg Theatre Institute, and Film School in Cuba. Jorge first appearance was in a third season episode of the TV series Graceland in 2013.
Jorge moved to Los Angeles in 2014 to pursue an acting career. He is starring in his first movie, The Land. He also appears next as the lead in The Shot, under the direction of Emmy-winning, Golden Globe nominated director/produce Jeremy Kagen.
MOISES ARIAS, Junior
Moises Arias continues to establish himself as a highly sought after young actor. He is currently in production on the independent comedy Little Bitches opposite Kiersey Clemons and Jennette McCurdy. This August, Arias will be seen opposite Jack Huston and Morgan Freeman in Paramount Pictures and MGM’s historical drama Ben-Hur.
In 2013, Arias received rave reviews for his breakout performance in the coming of age comedy The Kings of Summer. That year he was also seen opposite Asa Butterfield and Harrison Ford in Summit Entertainment’s sci-fi adventure Ender’s Game and lent his voice to the Universal Pictures’ sequel Despicable Me 2 alongside Miranda Cosgrove and Steve Carrell. Arias other feature film credits include: Paramount Picture’s Nacho Libre opposite Jack Black, the animated feature The Secret World of Arrietty, lead roles Lionsgate’s The Perfect Game and the Disney Channel MOW Dadnapped opposite fellow Hannah Montana cast members Emily Osment and Jason Earles, Hannah Montana: The Movie and the animated feature Astroboy with Nicolas Cage.
On the small screen, Arias initially joining Disney Channel’s hit series Hannah Montana in a recurring role. His character “Rico” became an instant fan favorite and he was upgraded to a series regular. His other television credits include guest starring roles on Everybody Hates Chris, The Suite Life Of Zack And Cody and Wizards of Waverly Place.
He currently lives in Los Angeles with brother Mateo.
RAFI GAVRON, Patty Cake
Rafi gained considerable attention for his breakout performance in the Weinstein Company/Miramax film Breaking and Entering directed by Anthony Minghella opposite Jude Law, Juliette Binoche and Robin Wright. His performance earned him a 2006 British Independent Film Award nomination for “Most Promising Newcomer On Screen” as well as a 2006 Times South Bank Breakthrough Award nomination for “Most Exciting New Face of 2006.”
Rafi has subsequently played opposite Michael Cera in the Sony/Screen Gems comedy Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist and is one of the leads in New Line’s family fantasy Inkheart directed by Iain Softley opposite Helen Mirren, Paul Bettany and Brendan Fraser. Television credits also include a three-episode arc on the critically acclaimed HBO series Rome and Fox’s 24, on the CW series, Life Unexpected and NBC’s Parenthood.
Rafi was also seen in the Summit feature The Cold Light of Day opposite Henry Cavill and Bruce Willis and had a cameo role in the Sony Pictures’ Celeste and Jesse Forever and the independent feature Mine Games. He was seen in the Participant produced/Summit exclusive feature Snitch opposite Dwayne Johnson. He was last seen in Tracers, produced by Marty Bowen for director Daniel Benmayor opposite Taylor Lautner.
EZRI WALKER, Boobie
Life is everything but easygoing for 19-year-old Clevelander, Ezzy. His mother is out of work due to her diagnosis of breast cancer, his grandmother has recently passed away from the disease, and his older brother is currently incarcerated, lost in a world of gang-banging and violence. Not to mention he recently lost his college scholarships, forcing him to return to the Neal Terrace housing projects of 87th and Detroit Avenue, where bullet casings litter the ground and drug dealing is merely a popular career choice for most of its residents; even some of his closest friends. As a barber, his father struggles to make ends meet, and with two younger brothers copying his every move, as well as a family depending on his success for survival, it’s evident that the pressure to deliver is at an all-time high.
But Ezzy is no stranger to pressure. At the tender age of 11, he began writing music simply as a means of entertainment. Over the years, this hobby began to serve as his medium for his self-expression and storytelling. It became exactly what he needed to remain sane in such a negative and hopeless environment. From this self-satisfying pastime came people from all walks of life that could not only relate to, but also find hope in Ezzy’s honest and transparent lyrics. These unimaginable experiences consist of sharing stages alongside the likes of Drake, Kendrick Lamar, Future, and many more for crowds of up to 26,000+ people. Ezzy has also recently appeared on Shade45’s Sway in the Morning show.
With his mixtape, It’s Ezzy, and his EP, Everything Ezzy, available for download online, the young hero is now focused on his 3rd project; a self-titled EP, Ezri, which is not yet set to be released.
LINDA EMOND, Momma
Linda Emond’s film roles include work with directors Terrence Malick, Spike Lee, James Schamus, Jason Bateman, Nora Ephron, Julie Taymor, Kimberly Peirce, Niki Caro, Bob Balaban, Michael Caton-Jones, Ed Harris, Craig Lucas, Noah Buschel, Peter Berg, and Walter Salles.
Upcoming films include About Ray, The Family Fang, Indignation, and the Untitled Terrence Malick Project. Other films include Jenny’s Wedding, Oldboy, Julie & Julia (in which she played “Simone ‘Simca’ Beck” opposite Meryl Streep), The Missing Person, Stop-Loss, Trade, Across the Universe, North Country, Dark Water, The Dying Gaul, and City by the Sea.
Television film work includes Georgia O’Keeffe (with Joan Allen and Jeremy Irons), Hallmark Hall of Fame’s A Dog Named Christmas (opposite Bruce Greenwood) and American Experience: John & Abigail Adams (opposite Simon Russell Beale). Episodic work includes The Knick (recurring), The Good Wife (recurring), Elementary (recurring), The Sopranos, Gossip Girl, and multiple episodes on all four Law & Order series (recurring).
For her work on stage, Linda has been nominated for three Tony Awards and received an Obie Award, the Lucille Lortel Award, an Outer Critics Circle Award, a Backstage West Garland Award, two Chicago Jeff Awards, and nominations for the Drama Desk, Drama League, LA Drama Critics and LA Ovation Awards. She lives in New York City.
NATALIE MARTINEZ, Evelyn
Following the success of her role on ABC’s hit crime anthology Secrets & Lies as the single mother whose son is found murdered, film and television star Natalie Martinez has stepped into the ring with another knockout series as a talented, yet impulsive and inexperienced fighter on the critically-acclaimed DirecTV show Kingdom. Starring Frank Gillo, Nick Jonas and Matt Lauria, the successful series will be back for its second season later this year.
Martinez first gained recognition after being handpicked by Jennifer Lopez to become the spokes model for her fashion line, JLO by Jennifer Lopez. She has since gone on to star in the telenovelas Fashion House and Saints & Sinners. She has also stared as Detective Ariana Sanchez on the ABC drama series Detroit 1-8-7, and as Detective Jamie Lovato on the Emmy and SAG-nominated crime drama CSI: NY. In 2013, Martinez starred in the Critics’ Choice Award-winning series Under the Dome created by Lost producer Brian Vaughan.
Natalie originally from Miami, Florida, currently resides in Los Angeles.
Melvin Gregg, Brent
Gregg is an actor who has appeared in Cleaver Family Reunion, Alpha House, Sharknado 3 and most recently The Land which will be shown at the upcoming Sundance film festival. Additionally, Gregg has done commercial campaigns for Nike, Google, Gatorade and Sony. His rise to fame can be credited to his online presence where he commands an audience of over 6 million subscribers. He is ranked top 25 on Vine with 3.5 million followers and 2 billion views. He is set to produce his first feature length film in early 2016.
KIM COATES, Uncle Steve
The FX hit series Sons of Anarchy propelled actor Kim Coates into the spotlight for his most well-known role as Tig Trager during its celebrated seven year run. Much like the character he portrayed, Coates has feared nothing throughout his career which has spanned all genres including film, television, and stage. Coates will be everywhere in 2016, where in addition to The Land, he will star in four additional films this year. Coates recently signed on to star with Kevin James in the Netflix film True Memoirs Of An International Assassin, which will be helmed by director Jeff Wadlow (KICK-ASS 2). Coates stars as ‘Miguel “Mike” Cueto,’ the President of Venezuela who Kevin James’ character is assigned to assassinate when he is thrown into a world of real danger. Currently in post-production, Coates stars as the title character in Officer Downe, an indie adaptation of the poplar graphic novel by Joe Casey, as an LA supercop routinely killed in the line of duty who is resurrected and sent back out into the fray time after time. Coates reprises his role as Highlanders Coach ‘Ronnie Hortense’ in the sports comedy sequel Goon: Last Of The Enforcers where he reunites with his co-stars Liev Schreiber and Sean William Scott. His performance in the first Goon film earned him a Canadian Screen Award (CSA) nomination for Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role. He also recently wrapped shooting alongside Holly Hunter and Carrie Coon in Strange Weather, a beautifully written and directed film by Katherine Dieckmann that is based on a true story and set in the deep south.
STEVEN CAPLE JR., Writer and Director
Raised in Cleveland, Ohio, Steven Caple Jr. is an award-winning storyteller and filmmaker. In 2013, HBO bought and aired his USC short film, A Different Tree, which won the Jury Prize for the Director’s Guild of America, the Short Film Competition at the American Black Film Festival, and the Audience Choice award at NBC’s Shortcuts and the One Lens Film Festival. Since then, HBO selected Caple to direct a one-act stage comedy in New York during their inaugural HBO Character and Scene Studio.
Caple attended Baldwin-Wallace College where he earned his B.A in Marketing and Film Studies. Immediately after, he decided to enhance his craft by enrolling into the University of Southern California’s School of Cinematic Arts in 2011.
NASIR “NAS” JONES, Executive Producer
Nas. Gifted poet. Confessor. Agitator. Metaphor master. Street’s disciple. Political firebrand. Tongue-twisting genius. With music in his blood courtesy of famed blues musician father Olu Dara, the self-taught trumpeter attracted crowds with his playing at age 4, wrote his first verse at age 7 and, with 1994’s Illmatic, created one of the greatest hip-hop albums of all time before he could legally drink. Two decades on, Nas remains an incendiary, outspoken and brutally candid rapper on the recently released Life is Good, his tenth album and sixth to debut at the top of the Billboard 200.
In recent years, though, Nas has transcended mere rapper status and engaged in greater levels of philanthropy. The rapper is an avid UNICEF supporter, helping to raise funds for East African region Horn of Africa and teaming up with the family of George Harrison for the organization’s Month of Giving. The rapper also donated all proceeds of Distant Relatives, his 2010 collaboration with longtime friend Damian Marley, to help end poverty in Africa.
The artist’s recent release was 2011’s Life Is Good, which debuted at #1 on the Billboard Top 200, marking the sixth #1 album that Nas has produced in his career. The collection also received four Grammy nominations bringing the rap icon’s Grammy recognition count to 13 overall.
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