BRITISH filmmaker and video artist Steve McQueen will executive-produce a film adaptation of Augustown, the acclaimed 2016 novel by Jamaican writer Kei Miller.
The film is being adapted by production companies Potboiler Productions and Rathaus Films.
A Jamaican-born poet, novelist, essayist and blogger, Miller is a well-known figure in the Caribbean community and a familiar face at TT's NGC Bocas Lit Fest and Carnival celebrations. He won the 2014 OCM Bocas non-fiction Prize and the novel Augustown is the fiction winner of the 2017 OCM Bocas Prize for fiction. The Cartographer Tries to Map A Way to Zion won him the 2014 Forward Prize for the best poetry collection and was shortlisted in a Costa Book Award.
The Screendaily.com website reported exclusively that the film will be directed by Antiguan director Shabier Kirchner, who filmed McQueen’s Small Axe, a new anthology series of five films set in London’s West Indian community in the 1960s through the 1980s and starring John Boyega, Letitia Wright and Micheal Ward, among many others.
McQueen is best known for directing the movies 12 Years a Slave (2013), Shame (2011) and Hunger (2008). He is known for his unflinchingly brutal style and approach to difficult subject matter. He was awarded the CBE (Commander of the Order of the British Empire) in the 2011 Queen's New Years Honours List for his services to visual arts.
The novel will be adapted by novelist and playwright Courttia Newland, who co-wrote two of the Small Axe films with McQueen. Newland was recently named a Screen Star of Tomorrow. The producers are Rachel Dargavel of the UK’s Potboiler Productions and Madeleine Askwith of US-based Rathaus Films.
Screendaily reported that McQueen, who will executive-produce under his production company Lammas Park, said: “There are so many stories from the Caribbean that need to be illuminated. They are like treasures buried deep below sand. It is wonderful that Shabier is bringing such stories to light.”
Shabier said “I have always wanted to break down the way we’ve been taught to tell stories. The Caribbean is so full of untold narratives, I would love to share as many as I can with the world, so Augustown is the perfect place to start.”
Miller said tongue-in-cheek on his Facebook page on Wednesday morning, “Yeah you know those completely pedestrian, unmemorable days...you wake up, you stretch, you have eggs for breakfast, you realise Steve McQueen will be one of the executive producers for the movie version of Augustown, you brush your teeth..” in response to the article.