Los Angeles – Queen Sugar, the critically acclaimed OWN drama series from Academy award-nominated filmmaker Ava DuVernay (“Wrinkle in Time,” “13,” “Selma”), executive producer Oprah Winfrey and Warner Horizon Scripted Television, announced today the remaining directors to complete the season three all-female directorial line-up to include first time television directors Nijla Mu’min, Christina Choe, Ayoka Chenzira and Rachel Raimist, along with the return of “Queen Sugar” showrunner Kat Candler.
These directors join the previously announced line-up including “Queen Sugar” producing director DeMane Davis, Patricia Cardoso, Shaz Bennett, Maria Govan and Lauren Wolkstein. Continuing the creative initiative established in the show’s first season by series creator and executive producer DuVernay to hire all female directorial teams, the series has employed 26 female directors to date. The series airs Wednesday nights at 10 p.m. ET/PT on OWN.
Additionally, the following actors join the cast in recurring roles, with all three characters appearing as part of an upcoming storyline which examines the vibrant Vietnamese community of New Orleans within the ongoing storylines centered on an African-American family in the new south.
Vivien Ngo (“Shameless”) has been cast in the role of Trinh Phan. Trinh has recently returned home to work in the office at her parents' seafood plant. Her time in New Orleans takes an unexpected turn when she befriends one of the local residents.
Tony Aidan Vo (“Alternatino”) has been cast as Khanh Phan, Trinh’s younger brother. He's been raised by his doting sister in his close-knit Vietnamese family.
Elyse Dinh McCrillis (“Spider-Man 2”) has been cast as Mrs. Phan, Trinh and Khanh’s good-hearted mother who can surely use her daughter's business skills to get her and Mr. Phan's office organized and up-to-date.
About “Queen Sugar” Season Three Directors:
· Nijla Mu’min – Nijla Mu'min is a writer and filmmaker named one of 25 New Faces of Independent Film by Filmmaker Magazine in 2017. Her short films have screened at festivals and venues across the country. In 2014, she was selected for the Sundance Institute Screenwriters Intensive, and she was the winner of the Grand Jury Prize for Best Screenplay at the 2014 Urbanworld Film Festival, for her script “Noor.” Mu’min’s debut feature film, “Jinn,” premiered in narrative competition at the 2018 South by Southwest Film Festival, where she won the Special Jury Recognition Award for screenwriting. Her short film “Dream” was acquired by Issa Rae Productions for online streaming in 2017 and has amassed over 70,000 views to date. She is a 2013 dual-degree graduate of CalArts MFA Film Directing and Writing Programs. “Queen Sugar” marks her directorial debut for television.
· Christina Choe: Christina Choe's debut feature “Nancy” recently premiered at Sundance in the 2018 US Dramatic Competition, where it won the Waldo Salt Best Screenplay Award and releases in theatres June 8. Choe's docu-series “Welcome to the DPRK”, a personal portrait of North Korea, was also recently acquired and released by First Look Media. Her short films, “I am John Wayne,” won the Grand Jury Prize at the Slamdance Film Festival, with “The Queen” and “Flow” screening at Telluride, SXSW, Aspen, among many others. Additional honors include a year-long Directing Fellowship with HBO and a Roger and Chaz Ebert Foundation Fellowship awarded at the Independent Spirit Awards. “Queen Sugar” marks her directorial debut for television.
· Ayoka Chenzira: Ayoka Chenzira is an award-winning artist and recognized pioneer in Black independent cinema. She is a teaching artist at Spelman College and a graduate of New York University (B.F.A. Film), Columbia University/Teachers College (M.A. Education) and is the first African American to earn a Ph.D. in digital media from the Georgia Institute of Technology. Her distinctive body of work spans fiction, documentary, animation, performance, experimental narratives, and interactive cinema. Her film work includes “Alma’s Rainbow,” one of the first 35mm independent films by an African American woman, along with “Hair Piece: a film for nappyheaded people,” “Zajota and the Boogie Spirit,” “My Own TV” and HERadventure.” “Queen Sugar” marks her directorial debut for television.
· Rachel Raimist: Rachel Raimist is best known as the award-winning director of “Nobody Knows My Name,” the first film about women in hip-hop. Her work centers on stories of women, music and youth culture, and her work has screened at numerous international film festivals including SXSW, Women in the Director’s Chair and Slamdance. Raimist holds a B.A. and a M.F.A. in directing from the UCLA Film School, and a M.A. and a Ph.D. from the University of Minnesota where The Rachel Raimist Feminist Media Center was named in her honor in 2009. Currently she is a tenured professor of media production at the University of Alabama. “Queen Sugar” marks her directorial debut for television.
· Kat Candler: Kat Candler returns to season three of “Queen Sugar” as showrunner. Her award-winning film “Hellion” played in competition at the 2014 Sundance Film Festival, and she was a 2015 Sundance Institute Women’s Initiative Fellow. She is also a two-time grant recipient of the San Francisco Film Society/Kenneth Rainin Foundation. Her television work includes “Being Mary Jane” “13 Reasons Why” and “12 Monkeys.”
“Queen Sugar” is produced for OWN by Warner Horizon Scripted Television. The executive producers are Ava DuVernay, Oprah Winfrey, Kat Candler and Paul Garnes. The series is based on the book by Natalie Baszile.
“Queen Sugar” was named Television Show of the Year from both American Black Film Festival (ABFF Honors) and African American Film Critics Association (AAFCA) for the second consecutive year and was nominated for an NAACP Image Award for Best Drama Series.
In the series’ third season, the contemporary drama returns as the Bordelons find themselves continuing their fight to save their family farm and father’s legacy as they navigate their own personal journeys. They soon find that their fight extends beyond their close-knit family, but also to the community. Charley (Dawn-Lyen Gardner) remains in the thick of the trials and tribulations in both her personal and professional life as she continues to battle the Landry family while also trying to ensure Micah’s (Nicholas Ashe) safety and future. Ralph Angel (Kofi Siriboe) is still reeling from learning from Darla (Bianca Lawson) that he might not be the biological father of his son, Blue (Ethan Hutchison), and attempts to push forward as the new cane season begins. A new and unexpected love in the form of an old friend comes into Nova’s (Rutina Wesley) life and challenges her long-held notions of relationships while also offering her something she didn’t think she could ever have.
The expansive cast also includes Tina Lifford as the siblings’ free-spirited Aunt Violet; Omar J. Dorsey as Violet’s much younger fiancé Hollywood Desonier; Dondré T. Whitfield as trusted Bordelon family friend Remy Newell and Henry G. Sanders plays Prosper Denton, a farmer and longtime friend of the late Bordelon family patriarch, Ernest. Additionally, recurring guest star Timon Kyle Durrett portrays Charley’s estranged husband and pro basketball player Davis West.
The season three premiere (5/29/18) delivered over two million viewers and ranked as Tuesday night’s #1 cable telecast in OWN’s target demographic of women 25-54 (L+3). The acclaimed drama was also the night’s #1 telecast across all of broadcast and cable for African-American women.