'American Promise' Producer Rada Film Group Rebrands

Joe Brewster and Michele Stephenson - Rada Studio - Publicity - h 2020
Courtesy of Rada Studio

The Black and Latinx-owned Rada Studio has a documentary about Black poet Nikki Giovanni and a virtual reality project about American racial terror in the works.

The Rada Film Group, producer of the Sundance-winning documentary American Promise and the narrative feature The Keeper, is rebranding as Rada Studio.

The Black and Latinx-owned company launched by filmmakers Joe Brewster and Michèle Stephenson in 2006 is also expanding its slate of TV content about people of color with a documentary feature about Black poet Nikki Giovanni, Going to Mars, now in production.

Rada Studio is also at work on The Changing Same, a virtual reality project that takes users on a 400-year journey of racial terror in America, including mob lynchings. The VR project is a co-production with Scatter, and is executive produced by POV Spark.

The rebrand to Rada Studio comes as Brewster and Stephenson look to come out from their roots as a niche documentary producer to influence America's debate on race in the wake of the George Floyd's killing by police in Minnesota.  

"From the start our work has been an expression of our own personal mission to use visual storytelling to express our experiences as people of color navigating American society with an aim to speak to personal, community and systemic liberation," Rada Studio co-founder Stephenson said in a statement.

"The irony is that years ago, our vision was seen as extreme and wayward by many gatekeepers. Today, things have come full circle. Audiences, makers and producers are demanding more," she added.

Rada Studio is giving TV treatment to a video series, Conversation on Race, that it produced for The New York Times in 2016, as part of a co-production with WGBH's World Channel. And the indie producer is partnering with TED TV to develop a series based on interviews with notable Americans, starting with a sit-down interview with late U.S. Rep. John Lewis by the attorney Bryan Stevenson, who also founded the Equal Justice Initiative.

The original Rada Film Group made a name for itself with American Promise, the 2013 Sundance special jury prize-winning documentary that follows two African American boys, who start out at New York's Dalton School, over 13 years.