Justin Simien’s acclaimed indie feature Dear White People is being adapted into a TV series, Deadline reports. The series will be a comedy featuring ten-episodes. Simien is writing Dear White People and will also direct the first episode. Filming is set to begin later this year.
The Netflix comedy show will be produced by Lionsgate, whose sister company Roadside Attractions released the original film back in 2014.
The upcoming series centers around a diverse group of students while attending a predominately white Ivy League college where racial tensions are often swept under the rug. Dear White People parodies “post-racial” America and tells a universal story about forming one’s own creative path.
Cindy Holland, the VP of Original Content at Netflix stated “Justin is a gifted storyteller whose bold, unique vision is perfectly suited to Netflix.” Holland went on to say that “His original film Dear White People announced the arrival of a fresh, creative voice that had everyone talking, and we’re excited to have Justin create this new series for our members worldwide.”
Simien wrote, directed, and produced the satirical Dear White People movie. The concept began with a trailer for his then-unproduced script that Simien developed using his tax refund. The trailer became popular on YouTube with over a million hits and even raised $50,000 in donations from fans. Simien received the Special Jury Award for Breakthrough Talent at Sundance and an independent Spirit award for Best First Screenplay.
“During the film’s release, I had the pleasure to speak with hundreds of students and faculty across a variety of college campuses dealing with these very issues in real time. I’m so grateful to have this platform – not only to give a voice to those too often unheard in our culture, but to also tell great stories from new points of views,” Simien states.
Simien will executive produce the series with Devon Shepard (House of Lies) along with the original movie’s Stephanie Allain Bray and Julia Lebedev.
“We’re proud to expand our partnership with our friends at Netflix on a comedy that tackles racial themes with a combination of intelligence, honesty, irreverence and wit,” said Chris Selak, EVP, Television, Lionsgate TV. Adding “Our original film with Roadside Attractions catapulted Dear White People into the national conversation about race, and Justin and the rest of the creative team have an opportunity to expand this world and bring its timely and universal themes to a global television audience.”
Dear White People’s Netflix series will debut sometime in 2017.