'Mother of George' Helmer Andrew Dosunmu to Direct Music Drama 'Fela Kuti'

Andrew Dosunmu - H 2013
Focus Features

Focus' biopic will profile the life of the Nigerian musician in the 1970s.

Andrew Dosunmu will direct Focus Features' drama Fela Kuti, a biopic about the Nigerian multi-instrumentalist musician.

Based on the source material in Michael Veal’s 2000 book, Fela: The Life and Times of An African Musical Icon, the film will chronicle the life of Fela, who was not only one of the founders of the musical movement of Afrobeat, a fusion of jazz, funk, psychedelic rock and Yoruba chants and rhythms, but also pushed boundaries in art and life in the 1970s. 

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A native of Nigeria, Dosunmu's latest film was Mother of George, starring Isaach De Bankole and Danai Gurira, which premiered at the Sundance Film Festival and was released theatrically by Oscilloscope in September. His documentary Hot Irons (1999) won the Reel Award at the Toronto International Film Festival and Best Documentary at FESPACO, Africa’s largest film festival. His debut fiction feature, Restless City, world-premiered at the 2011 Sundance Film Festival and was released theatrically by Screen Media Films in 2012.

Teresa Moneo, Focus' executive vice president international production, is supervising Fela Kuti for president of production, Jeb Brody. Lydia Dean Pilcher and Leigh Blake are producing the Cine Mosaic production.

Nigerian poet Chris Abani and Focus CEO James Schamus have written the most recent drafts of the movie’s screenplay.