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MAVERICKS

FROM EXECUTIVE PRODUCERS
MICHAEL MICHELE
CHRIS L. JENKINS

DIVERSITY IN 

STORYTELLING AWARD

Overview

What is the heart of being American? Freedom. Independence. Exceptionalism. The courage to take risks and start anew. It’s why so often the people who illustrate those qualities are called MAVERICKS-- independent individuals who forge a path on their own, often unafraid or unbowed by potential consequences.

But what is the image of the quintessential American maverick? Traditionally it’s been white men like James Dean or John Wayne or Steve McQueen. But that image has always been false.  American mavericks are just as easily black men of all social classes, who are living with the transcendent freedom and bravery, especially in a world that has often relegated their stories to  one dimension, while their hearts and souls tell them that they can be so much more. 

 

But for years these stories never made the documentary film screen. So often the lives of black men are told with one dimension– stories of poverty and pathology or overwhelming exceptional success in athletics and entertainment. But where are the true, real life stories of black male complexity, surprise that are outside-the-box and unexpected? 

 

The stories are endless: They are the F-22 Raptor pilot, grandson of a Tuskegee Airman, who became the first black man to fly that historic plane into missions, including in Iraq and Northern Africa; or twin cowboys who are the best competitive wranglers in Texas with dreams of being the biggest cattle ranchers in the state.

They are the ER surgeon who also is the lead singer for a world renowned punk rock band and the former opera singer turned globally recognized chef. But no matter who they are, they authentically live their lives in the most remarkable and exhilarating ways,  are embedded in the fabric of 21st century America and they have something to say.

 

MAVERICKS is a six-part docu-series that tells the stories of these iconoclastic, modern black men whose surprising lives and unexpected choices break the lazy conventions of how they are supposed to live in 21st century America. In each episode, the series will explore unconventional and independent minded black men who have broken through expectations and live their lives with bravery as they overcome  hurdles thrown in their path. 

This is a series for everyone, because everyone- woman or man, black or white, gay or straight-- has a little maverick in them. We’ll journey through the modern American experience showing the diversity and commonality of our lives as we discover hidden truths about what makes each of our black male characters stand out and embody the qualities that are relatable and quintessentially American.

 
 
THE FORMAT

THE FORMAT

Each  45-minute episode of MAVERICKS,  will take viewers to a new place around the country, doing a deep dive into an unexpected, complex story of a black man ready to show us the adventure that is his life.  In a word we will explore emotional and personal FREEDOM …the freedom to make unconventional choices even when society says he shouldn’t. 

 

We will examine how our character's internal resilience and bravery helped him  overcome those who doubted his will to be his own man, free of stereotypes, and his ability to push through circumstances that would defy the expectations of even those closest to him. But these will not be fluffy, “profile” films. Each episode will explore challenging and contrelements of our characters' lives, adding natural, authentic tension to the storytelling.oversial 

MAVERICKS will be intentionally diverse, exploring a cross section of black men from a range of backgrounds and perspectives. At each turn, we will examine the sometimes dangerous circumstances that our main characters face, with no other desire to live their lives without freedom and without fear. 

 

Each episode will be rooted in place and memory and will include visual elements that will offer a cinematic feel to the series: impressionistic recreations shot in Super 8 film; archival audio and visual elements to examine our character’s origins; intimate interviews and verité filmmaking shot with premium lenses that take the viewer into the moments that make these mavericks so unique.

We are living in an age of racial reawakening –-- diverse stories of African Americans are finally coming from the shadows and into public view on the big screen and on television. And these stories, whether scripted or unscripted, are showing black men in their full humanity. 

MAVERICKS is a series that connects to this moment and the culture’s conversation about the complicated, surprising and sometimes unexplored ways in which black men live in modern America. Each episode of MAVERICKS will be principally led by an all black crew, adding a sense of intimacy and understanding to the creative team. 

WHY NOW?

WHY NOW?

 
FUTURE EPISODES

fUTURE ePISODES

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DANIEL WALKER

The grandson of a Tuskegee Airman, Capt Daniel Walker became the first black man to fly the  F-22 Raptor, one of the most technologically advanced fighter jets in the world. But after a life altering mission he begins to question his legacy as a black man in the military despite his flawless record. This episode explores the intersection of patriotism and protest and how one young man seeks to define his own legacy. 

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MOZIAH BRIDGES

By age 9 Bridges had created his own line of bow ties from his childhood home of Memphis, TN. His designs were self made, and with the help of his parents he developed an audience for his craft. Now 21, he’s ready to take his company to the next level. But does he have the resources to bring his vision to fruition? 

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Willie O'Ree

He was the first black player in the National Hockey League, a tough, bruising center who incredibly played the game blind in one eye. But ever since he retired, Willie O'Ree has been teaching and grooming generations of black youngsters from tough backgrounds how to play the sport, fulfilling his lifelong dream of making hockey and its all white culture,  inclusive for  African Americans and other players of color. But what are the hurdles that even his mentorship can't help them overcome? An intergenerational Maverick story about the legend and the future young legend he hopes to groom. 

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IDDRIS SANDU

Coding for Google and Uber  by the time he was 14 years old, (and receiving a commendation from President Obama at 15), Iddris Sandu embodies the maverick spirit of a new generation. He turned down a full scholarship to MIT, deciding to pursue his own vision of himself as self educated and an innovator as a digital architect. Born in Ghana but raised in Compton, Sandu, 23,  is leading a wave of young black digital entrepreneurs to bring digitally integrated self determination to black communities, all under the umbrella of digital innovation., with partnerships with Roc Nation and other industry heavyweights. 

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BRIAN RICE

Brian Rice is a fearless 16-year-old from suburban Detroit who dreams of becoming the first African-American snowboarder to compete in the Olympics. But he must conquer his own fears in order to keep his vision alive.  

 
MEET THE FILMMAKERS

MEET THE FILMMAKERS