Production Begins on Oka! Amerikee

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Mon, 07/13/2009 - 20:00 -- Nick Dager

Roland Films and James Bruce Productions are proud to announce Oka! Amerikee a bittersweet comedy based on the unlikely friendship between an American ethnomusicologist and the Bayaka people of the Central African Republic. The film stars Kris Marshall Isaach Bankole and natives to the areas: Bayaka and Bantu. Based on true events from distinguished ethnomusicologist Louis Sarno’s life Sarno co-wrote the script with the film’s director Lavinia Currier. Currier’s credits includes directing the feature films Passion in the Desert a Roland Productions film distributed by New Line and Heart of the Garden. She is a character-driven and deeply sensitive student of the human condition. Currier says “With Oka! Amerikee I want to create a film that celebrates the culture music and spirituality of Central Africa. I want to make the audience see an alternative view to ‘bad news’ Africa and propose a positive voice. A voice that loudly proclaims how special it truly is.” The story is told through the eyes of the Bayaka Pygmies and paints a modern day picture of Central African today. This gives the film a notably lighthearted tone as it celebrates the Pygmies joyful approach to dance and music and complete respect for the equatorial forest where they live. Juxtaposing Sarno’s story with the Pygmies day-to-day lends itself to comparisons with the great independent critical and commercial success The Gods Must Be Crazy. Currier will produce with James Bruce. Bruce is widely known and respected for his work as a reality TV producer on the mega-hit television series: The Apprentice and The Restaurant. He most recently completed Case 219 starring Evan Ross and Harold Perrineau. Conrad W. Hall will be the director of photography. The son of Oscar Award winning Director of Photography Conrad L. Hall (American Beauty and Road to Perdition) Hall most recently completed Case 39 starring Renee Zellweger. Oka! Amerikee is the first film to be shot by a non-African production company in Central Africa. Lisa Hamil is currently casting the film. Principal photography is underway in Dzanga-Sangha.