CNN Films has come aboard Dreamland: The Rise and Fall of Black Wall Street, the documentary about the 1921 Tulsa race riot from LeBron James and Maverick Carter’s SpringHill Entertainment. The project, announced earlier this summer, is now in production, the companies said Monday, with Salima Koroma directing and producing. The film is expected to be completed early next year, which will mark the horrific event’s 100th anniversary.
James, Carter, Jamal Henderson and Philip Byron are executive producing for SpringHill alongside Amy Entelis and Courtney Sexton of CNN Films. With the deal, CNN will be the linear TV distributor for the feature doc in North America; HBO Max has acquired streaming rights.
The project, first revealed in June amid the nationwide protests for racial justice over the death of George Floyd, explores the history of Black Wall Street and the violent events of May and June 1921 in Tulsa, when mobs of white residents, spurred by an accusation of inappropriate behavior by a Black man against a white woman in an elevator, attacked and ultimately destroyed the 35-block Greenwood District — at that time a thriving community of African American bankers, lawyers and business owners that comprised the wealthiest Black community in the U.S. Hundreds were killed.
The production is a mix of archival media, contemporary interviews and first-hand accounts from letters and diary entries of the time, and will include footage of the search for physical evidence of the mass graves.
Dreamland is one of several projects centered on the Tulsa riot that include Dream Hampton and Cineflix Productions’ Black Wall Street miniseries and the docuseries Terror in Tulsa: The Rise and Fall of Black Wall Street from Stanley Nelson, Russell Westbrook and Blackfin.
Variety had this news first today.