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The African American Film Critics Association's 11th Annual AAFCA Awards - Arrivals

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Yesterday, Twitter was ablaze with the release of the trailer for the new Candyman film. The trailer, for those who haven’t seen it featured a creepy, slowed down version of Destiny Child’s “Say My Name” that had the streets shook.

The trailer left such an impact, Jordan Peele’s name and “Say My Name” were trending topics on Twitter yesterday. Jordan Peele is the screenwriter for this particular film. His movies tend to elicit excitement. And rightly so. With films like Get Out and Us to his name, Jordan Peele is something like a game-changer.

But Candyman is different. Peele didn’t direct it. Instead, he serves as producer. He also co-wrote the screenplay with Win Rosenfeld and a Black woman named Nia DaCosta. DaCosta, who studied at the New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts, will also direct the project.

Her film debut was Little Woods, released in 2018. Starring Tessa Thompson, the script, which DaCosta also wrote, was one of twelve chosen during the 2015 Sundance Screenwriters and Directors Labs. With the help of 72 backers on Kickstarter, DaCosta raised $5,100 to make the film. It premiered at the 2018 Tribeca Film Festival and it received the Nora Ephron award for “excellence in storytelling by a female writer or director.”

Now, she’s been tapped to direct this re-imagining of the 1992 horror film Candyman. And while we’re celebrating Jordan Peele for his continued contributions, we need to be celebrating Nia DaCosta. This woman is not only immensely talented, she’s only 29-years-old. She’ll likely have a long career ahead of her.

In speaking about the Candyman project with Deadline, DaCosta shared how she was able to bring the 1992 film into 2020.

“Gentrification is what helped us to reimagine the story because Cabrini-Green is gone. The movie from the ’90s has a vision of Cabrini-Green where it’s sort of on its way to being knocked down. What we talk about in the film are the ghosts that have been left behind because of gentrification.”

During a screening of the trailer, DaCosta told journalists like in the spirit of the 1992 film they want the re-imagined version to be audacious, fun and meaningful.

“The first thing I remember about Candyman was being dared to say his name in the bathroom of my middle school, which was right next to the projects. I grew up around the projects; no matter where I moved, I was always across the street from the projects. And so the first thing I really remember is feeling like Candyman was absolutely real, and he was definitely in the projects, and could be anywhere, including my bathroom at middle school, because you just say his name and he appears. So that’s what I really wanted to bring back, the idea that he is omnipresent, and he can haunt a neighborhood. And also Tony Todd being that dude—that was huge for us to have the Black antihero, villain, just a Black person in general who at least made it to the end of the film, in horror. It was really, really important.”

Yes ma’am.

Check out the people who are praising Ms. DaCosta on the following pages.

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