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Kino Lorber Acquires Aristotle Torres’ SXSW Prize-Winner ‘Story Ave’ Starring Asante Blackk, Luis Guzmán

Kino Lorber has acquired North American rights to the indie drama Story Ave, starring Asante Blackk (This Is Us) and Luis Guzmán (Wednesday) — which we were first to report on — slating it for release in theaters in October, with a on digital and home video debut to follow.

Marking the feature debut of well-known music video director Aristotle Torres, the film tells the story of Kadir (Blackk), a South Bronx teen and gifted visual artist who loses his way following the death of his younger brother. Overcome with grief and struggling with school and family, he escapes into the creative yet dangerous world of graffiti gangs. To prove himself and join his neighborhood’s ruling gang, Kadir attempts to rob MTA conductor Luis (Guzmán) on the Story Ave subway platform, only to be caught off guard when Luis agrees to give Kadir the cash if he’ll sit down to a meal with him. Following their conversation and the delicate friendship that grows out of it, Kadir sees for the first time how his artistic talent could lead to a better life.

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A FirstGen Content and Foxxhole Entertainment Production, in association with Mero Mero Production, The Space Program and Dark Rabbit Productions, Story Ave won a Special Jury Award for Cinematography at SXSW upon its world premiere at the Austin, TX festival. Torres and Bonsu Thompson wrote the pic also starring Melvin Gregg (Snowfall), Alex R. Hibbert (Moonlight) and Coral Peña (For All Mankind). Pic’s producers are Lizzie Shapiro, Datari Turner, Jamie Foxx and Torres. Exec producers are Michael D’Alto, Randal Sandler, Claude Amadeo and Chris Triana for FirstGen Content, Martin Cabrera and Robert Aguilar for Mero Mero, Luis Guzmán and Cemí Guzmán for Dark Rabbit, Gus Deardoff for The Space Program, and Jan McAdoo.

Said Kino Lorber’s SVP of Theatrical Distribution and Acquisitions, Wendy Lidell, “Story Ave is a New York story unlike any we’ve seen before. Aristotle Torres shines an authentic light on the South Bronx, its beauty never eclipsed by its hardships, and offers audiences the true gift of a complex and worthy role for the immensely talented Luis Guzmán.”

Added Torres in his statement, “I am incredibly honored that my first film has been acquired by Kino Lorber. This partnership with such a renowned distributor is a dream come true, and I am grateful for their recognition of my work.”

Continued the filmmaker, “The team and I invested our hearts and souls into this project, and I am thrilled to see it find a home with such a prestigious brand. I am excited to collaborate with Kino Lorber to bring my film to audiences on a wider scale and share the unique vision we’ve created. This is just the beginning of an exciting journey, and I can’t wait to continue creating meaningful stories that resonate with audiences everywhere.”

Lidell negotiated the deal for Story Ave on behalf of Kino Lorber, with WME Independent on behalf of the filmmakers. UTA Independent Film Group led worldwide sales.

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