EXCLUSIVE: At Kat Taylor and Tom Steyer TomKat Media has unveiled its slate of social justice-themed projects for 2022. The multiplatform media company has secured the rights to Duff Wilson’s eco-thriller Fateful Harvest and the award-winning work of narrative non-fiction by Aaron Bobrow-Strain, The Death and Life of Aida Hernandezwith plans to develop both as feature films.
Based on a Seattle Times investigative series reported by Wilson which was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize, Fateful Harvest is the gripping tale of an alarming environmental scandal. Published in 2001, the book tells the story of Patty Martin – the mayor of a small Washington town called Quincy – who discovers that American industries are dumping toxic waste into farmers’ fields and home gardens labeling it “fertilizer “. She becomes outraged by the contaminated soil, crop failures, dead horses, and deadly and rare diseases in her town, as well as the direct threat to the health of her own children. However, when she denounces a national problem, Patty Martin is almost chased out of town. Fateful Harvest is a study of corruption and courage, recklessness and judgement. It’s a story about the greatest fears – and the ultimate hope – in all of us.
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Anne Pinheiro-Guimaraes (Decoupled in Rio) will write the feature adaptation.
Published in 2019, The Death and Life of Aida Hernandez is the story of a young woman whose life spans both sides of the US-Mexico border – a character beaming with optimism in a relentlessly dark and unlucky world. Aida’s resilience pushes her to survive her own attempted murder, domestic violence, incarceration, deportation, separation from her son, and the US immigration system. Daughter of a rebel hero from the mountains of Chihuahua, she has a genius for survival – but returning to the United States is only the beginning of her quest.
New York Times bestselling author Hector Tobar (Deep Down Dark: The Untold Stories of 33 Men Buried in a Chilean Mine and the Miracle That Freed Them) will take care of the adaptation of the screenplay of the film, which will be called Aida. MacArthur “Genius” Scholars and Sundance Winners Cristina Ibarra and Alex Rivera (Infiltrators) will be the directors, Taylor and Marcela Davison Avilés producing the two films for TomKat MeDiA.
“As we advocate for more equitable reforms to help close America’s racial, economic and environmental disparities, TomKat MeDiA’s stories will each contribute to a common understanding by shedding comfortable myths in favor of more authentic narratives told and led by previously unknown voices and untapped talent,” Taylor said. “Together, with our partners, we will discover and cultivate new voices, talent, and business partners who are equally committed to entertaining and transforming society to the common good.”
“We are thrilled to support the work of these exceptional storytellers in the Hollywood community with uplifting projects that go to the heart of our resilience and capacity for hope, courage and love,” added Avilés, who joined TomKat as Managing Partner in 2020. “Their creativity reaches global audiences with beauty, verve and inspiring impact.”
Based on the short film by Pinheiro-Guimarães Desejo featuring Narcos‘ Wagner Moura was created at Sundance, she began writing and directing Brazilian series as remarkable as Like Canalhas, Bare and Our. She recently directed the critically acclaimed series Decoupled in Rioreleased worldwide via Amazon in December last year, also co-wrote and co-directed Brazil’s upcoming feature film, Trance.
Ibarra and Rivera previously directed the feature documentary Infiltratorswhich won the Audience and Innovator awards in the NEXT section of the 2019 Sundance Film Festival. Ibarra also directed the award-winning documentary Las Marthes, among other projects. Rivera’s feature debut was sleep merchantwhich won awards at the 2008 Sundance Film Festival and the Berlin Film Festival.
Tobar is the author of five books published in fifteen languages, including Deeply darkadapted into a movie 33 with Antonio Banderas. Tobar’s most recent novel is The last big bum on the road. He was a member of the Pulitzer-winning team that reported on the 1992 Los Angeles riots for the LA Times and also wrote for The New Yorker, among other publications.
TomKat MeDiA was founded by Taylor and Steyer with a mandate to develop and produce content from historically marginalized storytellers across platforms including film, television, podcasts and performing arts. Other upcoming projects from the company include a podcast series renewing original journalism for Fateful Harvestand mud bone, a scripted episodic series in development with Peter and Benjamin Bratt’s Alpita Patel and Five Stick Films, and Erika Alexander and Ben Arnon at Color Farm Media. The company also recently participated in the financing of The big comebacka documentary about the Black American Reparations Bill passed in Evanston, Illinois, directed by Erika Alexander and Whitney Dow.
TomKat MeDiA is represented by Rick Berg and Rich Freeman at Code Management and attorneys Bill Skrzyniarz and Tanya Mallean. Wilson and Martin are replaced by Echo Lake Entertainment; Pinheiro-Guimarães de Gersh, Black Rabbit Media and attorney Shep Rosenman; Bobrow-Strain by Matt McGowan at the Frances Golden Literary Agency; Ibarra by attorney Andrew Hurwitz; Rivera of The Rookery, APA and Andrew Hurwitz; and Tobar by WME.
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