ARRAY Releasing, the distribution arm of Ava DuVernay’s Peabody Award-winning narrative change collective, has picked up rights to the feature drama Learn to Swim for the U.S., the UK, Australia and New Zealand, slating it for release on select screens and on Netflix on August 15.
The first feature from director Thyrone Tommy dives into the world of contemporary jazz with a musical meditation on love and loss, following the doggedly private and talented saxophone player Dezi (Thomas Antony Olajide) and a vivacious, but less experienced singer named Selma (Emma Ferreira). When the two meet, sparks fly, but their respective emotional baggage and temperaments make the road to romance bumpy at best.
An official selection of the 2021 Toronto Film Festival, Learn to Swim was written by Tommy and Marni Van Dyk, with Alona Metzer producing.
“With ARRAY Releasing’s summer acquisition of LEARN TO SWIM, we are thrilled to highlight the lyrical directorial debut of Canadian filmmaker Thyrone Tommy,” said ARRAY President, Tilane Jones. “His award-winning film delivers a deeply felt story that addresses tragic loss, matters of the heart and the resilience of the human spirit.”
DuVernay founded ARRAY in 2011. Past releases from the company include DuVernay’s Sundance-winning Middle of Nowhere and This Is the Life; Haile Gerima’s Sankofa and Ashes and Embers; Deepa Mehta’s Funny Boy; Sterlin Harjo’s Love and Fury; Isabel Sandoval’s Lingua Franca; Sujata Day’s Definition Please; Agam Darshi’s Donkeyhead; Blitz Bazawule’s The Burial of Kojo; Merawi Gerima’s Residue; Takeshi Fukunaga’s Ainu Mosir; Shantrelle P. Lewis’ In Our Mothers’ Gardens; Ainsley Gardiner and Briar Grace-Smith’s Cousins; Shaz Bennett’s Alaska Is a Drag; Stephanie Turner’s Justine; Simon Frederick’s They’ve Gotta Have Us; Numa Perrier’s Jezebel; Phillip Youmans’ Burning Cane; and Andrew Dosonmu’s Restless City, among other titles.
The Learn to Swim acquisition was negotiated by Gordon Bobb of Del, Shaw, Moonves on behalf of ARRAY; and by Derek Kigongo of APA, and Ben Cowely of Goldenberg & Co on behalf of the filmmakers.