Dara Ju


TYPE
: Narrative Feature
GENRE: Drama
STATUS: Completed

LOGLINE

A young Nigerian-American financier struggles with love, family, and a prescription drug dependency as his ambitions steer him down a criminal path.

SYNOPSIS

Seyi Ogunde is the American son of Nigerian immigrants who live outside New York City. With single-minded focus, he’s attended a prestigious college and landed a competitive finance job. He’s both confident in his abilities and deeply insecure because of his African background. While he contends with life and career in New York, Seyi grapples with a turbulent family situation in Hackensack, New Jersey: his stroke-ridden father dreams of a return to Nigeria, his mother slaves as a nurse to help keep the home afloat, and his sister struggles to care for their infirm parent. Hovering over these family difficulties is a painful past incident that goes largely unconfronted.

Seyi only endures the strain of work and family with the assistance of illegally acquired prescription drugs – and his dependence is deepening. Adding to this cocktail, Seyi meets Liz, a girl whose well-to-do background leads him to believe he must embellish his own in order to win her over. Dead set on both impressing Liz and fulfilling his family obligations, Seyi soon finds himself sliding into a highly fraudulent financial scheme – one that props up his short-term earnings but also leaves him at great risk.

As Seyi’s choices play out, he finds his life quickly spiraling out of control: the law pursues him because of his financial dealings; Liz discovers he’s not exactly who he’s claimed to be; and his prescription drug dependence grows stronger, ultimately landing him in the hospital. Everything comes to a head when his sick father suffers a second large stroke and the devastating family secret comes into the open. With Seyi’s relationships pulled apart and the Feds bearing down on him and his firm, he is forced to fully examine his choices – ultimately making a decision that will alter the course of his young life.

ARTISTIC STATEMENT

TBD

KEY CREW

Anthony Onah - Writer / Director / Producer

Anthony Onah is an award-winning filmmaker who was recently named one of Filmmaker Magazine’s “25 New Faces of Independent Film” for 2015. He is currently in production on his debut feature, DARA JU, which has received support from the Sundance Institute, IFP, Film Independent, and the Ford Foundation.

Born in Nigeria, Anthony was raised in the Philippines, England, Nigeria, Togo, and the United States. He trained as a biochemist and neuroscientist at Harvard University, where he was awarded the Hoopes Prize for outstanding scholarly work. Admitted to Cambridge University for graduate studies in genetics, he instead entered the MFA program at UCLA Film School. While at UCLA, he was a two-time winner of the DGA Student Film Award, chosen as one of Indiewire’s “10 Exciting New Voices,” and attended the 2012 Berlinale Talent Campus.

Anthony is represented by Gotham Group and Bloom Hergott.

Kishori Rajan - Producer

Kishori Rajan is a New York-based producer and head of development at Durga Entertainment. She has been on the producing and production teams of several narrative features, including the Spirit Award nominated FOUR and GIMME THE LOOT (IFC/Sundance Selects), and the upcoming MAN WITH VAN. She also associate produced MAY IN THE SUMMER (Sundance 2013) with Durga Entertainment.

Kishori has been the senior producer on web and TV content for various clients including American Express and nyc.gov. She recently co-directed and produced AMERICAN DROPOUT, a television documentary that aired nationally on PBS. Kishori is also a contributing writer to Filmmaker Magazine. She will be next producing Anthony Onah’s feature DARA JU and Anne Hamilton’s feature AMERICAN FABLE.

She graduated with a degree in Film Studies from Columbia University, where she served as President of Columbia University Film Productions. She was awarded the Entertainment Partners’ Festival Winner Recognition Award in 2012.

Justin Begnaud - Producer

Originally from Kansas City, Justin Begnaud is an Independent Spirit Award-nominated and Gotham Award-nominated producer based in Los Angeles. He recently produced Ana Lily Amirpour’s debut feature, A GIRL WALKS HOME ALONE AT NIGHT, which premiered at the 2014 Sundance Film Festival. He was also associate producer on William Saunders' first documentary feature BILLY MIZE & THE BAKERSFIELD SOUND, which premiered at the 2014 Los Angeles Film Festival.

Justin is currently producing Anthony Onah’s debut feature, DARA JU, which has been supported by the Sundance Institute, Ford Foundation, IFP, and Film Independent. Justin began his career as a television producer, working on TV documentaries and non-fiction series for A&E Networks, AMC Networks, MTV Networks and NBC-Universal. He then transitioned to film, becoming Director of Production for the completion bond company, Film Finances, Inc., and subsequently joining the film financier, Grosvenor Park Media, LP, as Vice President of International Business Development & Production Finance.

Justin holds an MFA from UCLA Film School, an MS from Columbia University, and a BFA/BID from Syracuse University.

 

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ACCOLADES

-
IFP Fiscal Sponsorship Program 2017
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Sundance Institute Feature Film Program
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IFP No Borders Co-Production Market
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Ford Foundation
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Film Independent Producing Lab
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Film Independent Directing Lab
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Berlinale Talent Campus - Directing Fellow
-
Berlinale Talent Campus - Producing Fellow

 

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