Cop drama lands U.S. dis­trib­u­tor


Hal­i­fax film­maker Cory Bowles’ first fea­ture — about a black man torn about his role as a po­lice of­fi­cer — has been picked up for dis­tri­bu­tion in the U.S., where he says au­di­ences are ea­ger for hon­est de­pic­tions of the mod­ern black ex­pe­ri­ence.

The Trailer Park Boys star an­nounced this week that Sa­muel Gold­wyn Films had ac­quired his film Black Cop, and plans are un­der­way to roll out the award-win­ning movie in Amer­ica.

Bowles — who wrote and directed the 90-minute, mi­cro-bud­get movie filmed in Hal­i­fax — said the film has al­ready screened in about a dozen U.S. cities on the fes­ti­val cir­cuit, and won best nar­ra­tive fea­ture at the St. Louis In­ter­na­tional Film Fes­ti­val.

The movie ex­plores the re­la­tion­ship between the pub­lic and po­lice and ex­am­ines racial pro­fil­ing through the eyes of the ti­tle char­ac­ter, played by Toronto ac­tor Ron­nie Rowe Jr.

In­spired by in­ci­dents of white po­lice of­fi­cers shoot­ing un­armed black civil­ians, Bowles said he wanted to cre­ate a dra­matic, char­ac­ter-driven satire that ex­plored com­plex themes around po­lice race re­la­tions.

“It fol­lows a day in the life of a po­lice of­fi­cer who is pushed to the limit af­ter be­ing pro­filed by his col­leagues off-duty. He be­gins to pull a re­ver­sal and in­flict a sense of shoe-on-theother-foot jus­tice,” said Bowles, 44.

He said re­ac­tions to the film south of the bor­der have been mostly pos­i­tive, with some au­di­ence mem­bers say­ing it evoked a range of emo­tions, in­clud­ing anger.

“We want our sto­ries told, and it’s some­times how we tell those sto­ries that is scru­ti­nized, and some­times you have gate­keep­ers that will not let you tell the story you need to tell,” said the Truro, N.S.-raised Bowles.

“The re­sponse has been ex­cit­ing — elec­tric. Al­beit, it’s a hard topic right now for a lot of peo­ple. For ev­ery­body, re­ally.”

The movie was first shot as a short film in 2015, but Bowles said the black cop char­ac­ter “would not leave my head,” so he wrote him into a fea­ture film.

Plans for a the­atri­cal re­lease haven’t been an­nounced, but Sa­muel Gold­wyn Films said the movie will be avail­able on de­mand May 1.

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