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Ars Nova Presents black dynamite directed by Scott Sanders

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Ars Nova



Directed by Scott Sanders

Running time: 90:22

International Sales Agent:
T&C Pictures Int’l

3122 Santa Monica Blvd, Ste 200

Santa Monica, CA 90404
Contact: David Jourdan

T: +1 (310) 828-1340

F: +1 (310) 828-1581
Directed By

Scott Sanders

Screenplay by

Michael Jai White &

Byron Minns &
Scott Sanders
Michael Jai White

Kym Whitley

Tommy Davidson

Kevin Chapman

Byron Minns

Salli Richardson-Whitfield

Cedric Yarbrough

Mike Starr

Mykelti Williamson

Brian McKnight

Obba Babatunde

Nicole Sullivan

Bokeem Woodbine

Arsenio Hall


John Salley

When “The Man” murders his brother, pumps heroin into local orphanages, and floods the ghetto with adulterated malt liquor, BLACK DYNAMITE is the one hero willing to fight all the way from the blood-soaked city streets to the hallowed halls of the Honky House. Michael Jai White stars as BLACK DYNAMITE, a gun-toting, nunchuck-wielding, ladies man and soul brother. Written and directed by Scott Sanders (marking his return to Sundance, ten years after his last film Thick as Thieves premiered) BLACK DYNAMITE also stars Tommy Davidson, Nicole Sullivan, Bokeem Woodbine, Arsenio Hall and John Salley.
Black Dynamite is the baddest cat to ever hit town. He puts his finger in the ground and turns the whole word around. This ex-CIA commando rules the streets with a 44-Magnum in one hand and nunchucks in the other. With his soul brother brand of Kung Fu, he strikes fear into the hearts of suckers and chumps on both sides of the law, and with his super cool style, keeps the ladies begging for more.

When Black Dynamite’s brother Jimmy is mysteriously killed, the CIA calls Black Dynamite back into action. Tracing a bullet casing left at the scene of the crime, Black Dynamite finds himself battling pool hall thugs, pimps, pushers, and monsters.

In the process of solving his brother’s murder, Black Dynamite uncovers a bigger plan by “The Man” to pump dope into the local orphanages and flood the ghetto with malt liquor adulterated to weaken the Black Man’s most fundamental power source.
Upon meeting and romancing the beautiful, socially-minded orphan activist Gloria, Black Dynamite decides to clean up the streets, declaring war on the scourges of the ghetto.
Flanked by a team of militants, including his trusted friend Bullhorn, a rhyme-talking club-owner, and the smooth talking hustler Cream Corn, Black Dynamite takes his crusade from the blood-soaked city streets to the hallowed halls of the “Honky House”…


Q: Your last film Thick as Thieves premiered at Sundance ten years ago. What do you remember most about your last experience at Sundance?
I have fond memories of Sundance. I saw a lot of movies I probably wouldn’t have seen otherwise, and I think that’s important… I’m going to really make an effort to see even more films this year.
I remember being approached by random famous people… I got into the funky habit of announcing who they were when they were approaching me, as if I was a character on a bad 1970’s sitcom who just met a very special guest star - “Why…it’s Four Time Olympic Gold Medalist, Carl Lewis!”
I’m going to avoid doing that this time.


Q: What is the genesis of this project and how did BLACK DYNAMITE come to be?

I approached Michael Jai White about doing another script I wrote. While we were talking about that, he showed me some photographs he had taken of himself in ‘70s clothing, an afro wig, mustache, and holding a gun and nunchucks…. That picture is still our logo today.
It all seemed so obvious at that moment that this was the film to do as soon as possible. We worked together, along with my friend and editor Adrian Younge, to cut a promotional trailer. On the basis of this trailer, we attracted my friend and one of the producers from Thick as Thieves, Jon Steingart. He raised the money, and Black Dynamite was born.
Q: Where did you shoot the film and how long was the shoot?
The film was shot all in Los Angeles; it was a 20 day shoot. We had a couple of green screen days, and one re-shoot day.


Q: What or who are your influences as a filmmaker and what were your influences with regard to this film?

I am a huge fan of the Coen Brothers and Stanley Kubrick, and I was aiming for a level of deadpan satire that exists in their more comedic films, rather than a nudge-nudge wink-wink kind of spoof that exists in a lot of spoof comedies today.

Q: Can you discuss the visual style of the film?

I wanted to make the movie look old, but I wanted it to look like we had a pristine print of an old movie. That means no fake scratches or digitally generated retro deterioration.
My cinematographer Shawn Maurer tested a Super 16 Color Reversal Kodak film stock, and I was blown away. It was high contrast, and super saturated, and it gave us a very organic, older look. The downside was that there isn’t any latitude in terms under or over-exposure… it’s very unforgiving, and people rarely shoot with it… but the results were great, and extra kudos to Shawn for managing to make it work.


Q: How did the cast come together?

Michael Jai White is friends with most of the actors, so we started from there, and my longtime casting director Rick Montgomery did a great job of filling out the cast.


Q: What do you hope people get out of the film?

I hope people think it’s funny, mostly. We really tried to pay attention to detail, so I hope that people who enjoyed blaxploitation movies enjoy some of the references. We wanted to make a movie that was pure, raw, exploitation entertainment, with no real agenda other than that.


Q: What was it like working with Michael Jai White again (since Michael was also in Thick as Thieves) as a director?

Well… I haven’t made a movie without Michael Jai White, so I don’t have experiences that I can compare it to. Mike and I have a great creative collaboration thing going, and we plan on working together on multiple projects in the immediate future. Eventually I’m sure I’ll do a movie without him, and that will be strange.


Q: You and Michael also worked on the screenplay together (with Byron Minns).  What was that process like working on the script and how did it begin?

We worked independently for awhile. I was writing a script, and Mike and Byron were working on a script. Around page 60, we realized that my script was on the wrong track, and we focused on the one they were writing on. A lot of my contributions came in the rewriting phase, but Mike and Byron were the ones who came up with the tone of the thing, and I think that made all the difference.


Q: Craftsmanship on this film is integral to the experience of watching the movie – costumes, music, etc. Can you comment on this and tell me what some of your favorite aspects are with regard to this in the film?

We were extremely fortunate to have great people working on this film… 2 time Oscar nominee Ruth Carter; Production Designer Denise Pizzini; and music supervisor David Hollander, among others. On the budget, it was an extremely difficult trick to pull off, but they came through. The scene where Black Dynamite walks into the brothel represents the best of all of it… It’s at that moment that all of these things come together, and I really feel like we sell the period.


Q: What is your favorite scene and line from the film?

The last scene is my favorite, because this is a difficult movie to wrap up and finish, and I think the end works so I’m grateful for that.
My favorite line is Bullhorn discussing waffles, declaring, “These buttery muthaf*ckas will melt in your mouth.” It’s a completely random, which is probably why I like it.


Michael Jai White broke on the scene in the starring role of the HBO film Tyson, where he played “Iron” Mike.  He later starred in the hit film Spawn that grossed $54 million.  Most recently Michael was featured in Tyler Perry’s Why did I Get Married? and The Dark Knight.  Michael is an accomplished martial artist, holding seven legitimate black belts in different martial arts styles.


In 1979, Hall moved from Ohio to Chicago, Illinois where he tried his hand at stand-up comedy and was discovered by Jazz singer Nancy Wilson. In the following few years Hall toured, opening for twenty major headliners including Patti LaBelle, Aretha Franklin, Tina Turner, and Stevie Wonder. A short time later, Arsenio attempted to diversify his career by making numerous appearances on television shows such as "Solid Gold" and "The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson"…and doing his first film cameo in Amazon Women on the Moon, directed by John Landis.

In 1987, Arsenio was asked to replace Joan Rivers on the Fox Network series "The Late Show." On the strength of his work as interim host, he was signed to a film and television deal with Paramount Pictures, which subsequently led to the opportunity to co-write and co-star in the hit (Paramount) comedy Coming to America. On January 3, 1989, "The Arsenio Hall Show" made its debut. Virtually overnight, Arsenio changed the face of late night television by captivating young viewers across the country. During his successful five-year run as Executive Producer, Hall provided a forum for cutting edge comedy, politics and the television debut of such pop superstars as Mariah Carey, Snoop Doggy Dogg, Boyz to Men, and countless others. In 1994, Hall was again ready to grow and diversify. He resigned from the late night gabfest to pursue other personal and professional interests.

Most recently, Hall was featured as the comical ”Carl Cristall” in Exodus Films’ animated feature Igor, starring John Cusack, which was released in theatres nationwide in September, 2008, and on DVD in January, 2009. Hall returned to television in the fall of 2008, as host of the popular weekly series “World’s Funniest Moments,” a one-hour show capturing life’s most outrageous moments caught on tape, which premiered in October, 2008, on MyNetwork TV. He also hosted the fascinating five-hour special “The Blacklist: 100 Greatest Power Moves,” which chronicled the unforgettable moments, cultural movements and personal achievement that have advanced the black race and helped change the course of American history over the past century, which aired on five consecutive nights, November 9 – 13, 2008, on the TV One Network.

An actor, stand-up comedian, musician, and singer, Tommy Davidson’s exceptional range has made him a rising force in entertainment. Perhaps best known as one of the original cast members of the hit television show In Living Color, Davidson has parlayed that success into a flourishing motion picture career. Tommy starred in Spike Lee’s Bamboozled, where he received acclaim and praise for his turn as Womack/Sleep ‘N Eats, a character which showcased his comedic and dramatic acting abilities. Davidson also starred in Morgan Creek Productions’ Juwanna Mann released in June 2002. Tommy was seen cracking jokes and doing what he does best, making people laugh, in THE FOX NFL SHOW, which aired weekly on Saturday nights; he also co-hosted this new and unique show with football greats Michael Irvin and Tony Siragusa. He was seen in the provocative urban comedy, Booty Call (Columbia Pictures). Davidson has also starred opposite Jada Pinkett Smith in the romantic comedy, Woo (New Line). He has also made an impressive film debut opposite Halle Berry in Strictly Business. On the small screen, Davidson’s voice was heard in the Disney Channel animated series, The Proud Family.
Davidson started his career as a standup comedian in the late 1980s throughout the Washington Metropolitan region, Baltimore, and Philadelphia, performing in various comedy clubs. Performing stand-up in local talent showcases was where he was spotted by concert promoters, who booked him as the opening act for such major music stars such as Patti LaBelle, Kenny G, and Luther Vandross. The next step was Hollywood; he performed at many small clubs, including the Comedy Act Theatre, where among others, he met Robert Townsend and Keenan Ivory Wayans, who would later prove instrumental in Davidson’s career. Davidson’s first national television appearance was a starring role in Townsend’s Partners in Crime. Wayans, who offered him the opportunity to audition for a primetime variety show called In Living Color, which became a cult favorite and a huge ratings success, then approached Davidson. Davidson’s hilarious impressions of Sammy Davis, Jr., Michael Jackson and others have become infamous. In Living Color led to three Showtime specials: On Strength of New York, Illin’ in Philly, and Takin’ it to DC, and a handsome film career such as a reunion with fellow In Living Color alumni, Jim Carrey in Ace Ventura II: When Nature Calls. He has two up-and-coming movies to be released this spring, Black Dynamite with Michael Jai White and also Chicago Pulaski Jones with Cedric the Entertainer.

John Salley, a 15-year NBA veteran, was the first NBA player to win four championships with three different teams. During the 80’s, Salley was a member of the Detroit Piston “Bad Boys” squad, which included Isaiah Thomas and the infamous Dennis Rodman and Bill Lambeer. Salley then played in Chicago with Michael Jordan as part of the Bulls 1996 championship team. In 1999, Phil Jackson invited Salley to come to Los Angeles to provide experience and leadership to the 1999-2000 Lakers’ championship team.

After his retirement from the NBA in 2000, Salley explored several opportunities in both television and film. John’s film credits include Bad Boys I and II, Eddie, and the ABC Christmas movie starring George Lopez entitled Naughty or Nice. John recently completed shooting Jerry Bruckheimer’s Confessions of a Shopaholic in May of 2008. In addition, Salley is one of 4 hosts for five, 1-hour specials entitled SHAKEN NOT STIRRED…A CELEBRITY TOAST to air on MyNetwork TV. The first two specials aired 29 October and 19 November 2008. John also hosted the Southern Sports Awards show airing on Fox Sports, the CTPAA (Cable TV Public Affairs Assoc.) Beacon Awards show, and the CTAM (Cable & Telecommunications Assoc.for Marketing) Mark Awards. Salley was also the host of The John Salley Block Party on 100.3 The Beat Morning Show.
Salley has recently discovered a love for racing after participating in the 2007 and 2008 Toyota Grand Prix Celebrity Race and The Gillette Young Guns and Superstars series that aired on ABC in June 2007. He recently concluded 7 years serving as the co-host of the Emmy nominated, critically acclaimed “The Best Damn Sports Show Period” on Fox Sports Net. He was also the host of the show BALLERS seen on BET. John Salley is one of the most respected personalities in the tightly knit network of celebrities. John is also the head of his own production company, Black Folk Entertainment. Using his uncanny ability to find unique and interesting projects, Salley plans on bringing to fruition, many TV and film projects currently on his slate. His relationships and credibility within that network gives any project the vital access required to attach major talent.

Salli Richardson's wide range of credits include work in television, film and theater, including productions at the Pasadena Playhouse and key roles in such movies as I Am Legend, Antwone Fisher, Anacondas: The Hunt for Blood Orchid, Posse, Low Down Dirty Shame and Biker Boyz. She recently wrapped shooting tow new starring roles in the films PASTOR BROWN, directed by Rockmond Dunbar and Black Dynamite opposite Michael Jai White.

Her expansive list of television credits includes her starring role as attorney ‘Viveca Foster’ on Family Law as well as recurring roles on CSI: Miami, Rude Awakening and NYPD Blue. Richardson played a guest-starring role on the critically acclaimed series House and voiced the character of ‘Elise’ for the animated series Gargoyles.
Born in Chicago, Richardson-Whitfield resides in Los Angeles with her husband Dondre and daughter Parker and has another child on the way.


Scott’s directorial debut came on the 1999 HBO feature film Thick as Thieves starring Alec Baldwin, Michael Jai White and Andre Braugher. Scott is also one of the most popular DJs in Los Angeles, spinning under the name Suckapunch.

Byron Keith Minns has appeared in many theatrical, TV, and film productions, including the Tony Award-winning August Wilson play FENCES on Broadway at the 46th Street Theatre directed by Lloyd Richards; SOUTH OF SUNSET and DELLAVENTURA on CBS, and D.E.A. on Fox, as a series regular; and films such as FORREST GUMP, TRESPASS, and SOUTH CENTRAL. He has trained at Lincoln Center, H.B. Studios, and the Yale Annex and has a passion for martial arts, dialects, boxing, and basketball


Ars Nova is a New York-based commercial producing company committed to bringing the best of cutting-edge entertainment to the stage and screen. Ars Nova works with today’s top-emerging artists to create high quality, critically and commercially successful programming for theater (Broadway and Off Broadway), television, and film. Black Dynamite is Ars Nova’s first feature film. 


In just six years, Wax Poetics has become the premier hip-hop and funk publication by illuminating the golden era of music while re-contextualizing today’s music world. In 2007, Wax Poetics began expanding its editorial vision past the magazine across books, records, films, and online with their digital music download site at 


From a performance aspect, DJ Tittsworth has continuously dominated decks at a 

plate-a-minute’s pace. Titts’ sets have been religiously grouped amongst the best in 

popular tour stop cities. He has appeared on Finish television, MTV Canada, V TV 

(Asian MTV equivalent), countless international radio shows, magazines and newspapers. Sponsored gigs/tours recently include Diesel in Hong Kong, Redbull, Scion, and Frank 151. From URB and XLR8R to NME, his music is a permanent fixture in blogs, charts and the press. His solo album 12 STEPS was released to critical acclaim in August 2008. 

David Choe is one of the most diverse and prolific artists working today. Choe’s art, 

photos, and writing have been featured in Giant Robot, and Vice magazine among 

numerous other publications. His extensive client list includes Marvel Comics, Levi’s, 

IBM, and Nike. Choe’s three self-published, comic/journal/novellas have received 

awards and are sold out editions. David Choe’s works have been exhibited in galleries 

internationally. He is also one of the youngest artists ever to have a solo show at 

MOCA. Most recently, Choe partnered with Upper Playground to create a set of 

limited-edition prints featuring Barack Obama. 

Ruth Carter is a two-time Academy Award® nominee for her work on Spike Lee’s Malcolm X and Steven Spielberg’s Amistad. Amongst Carter’s numerous and diverse film credits are: Do The Right Thing, Mo’ Better Blues, What’s Love Got To Do With It, Shaft, Daddy Day Care, and Meet Dave. Ruth has collaborated with many Hollywood directors including John Singleton on the feature Four Brothers and Baby Boy and also with Joss Whedon on Serenity. Ruth is also a long-time collaborator of Spike Lee’s, having worked with him on ten of his films. However, her love for costume designing began in the theater. She holds a Bachelors Degree in Theater Arts from Hampton University. Carter has enjoyed 20 years as a professional costume designer for film, television, commercials and theater. Recently, Ruth has created costumes for Eddie Murphy in Nowhereland and Ashton Kutcher in Spread. She is preparing for several films with Don Cheadle about the life of Miles Davis and LA Riots with Spike Lee and presently working with Halle Berry on Frankie and Alice.


Los Angeles based Six Point Harness specializes in top shelf animation for broadcast, film, and web. The 6PH team members are known for their cutting-edge technical knowledge, sleek production pipeline and artistic talent. After landing their first big project, the main title sequence for Eurotrip, 6PH's resume has only grown more impressive. Their most notable projects include MTV2's Where My Dogs At?, Nick Jr.'s Wow! Wow! Wubbzy!, Nickelodeon’s El Tigre , Drew Carey's Green Screen Show, the Phil Hendrie pilot, and NBC's hit series Medium.


Adrian Younge is a self taught musician, film editor, and recording engineer that has dedicated his life to the study of vintage Black Soul music. In 2000, he released Venice Dawn, a psychedelic funk score to accompany a faux vintage Italian film. Venice Dawn, and supplementary productions, were produced in Younge’s very own analog studio; one of the last fully operational analog studios in Los Angeles. In 2004, he edited and produced the Hip Hop dance documentary Respond to Sound. In 2007, he edited and produced Respond to Sound II, a documentary depicting the evolution of Black Street dancing in America, featuring KRS-1, Black Eyed Peas, The Pharcyde, and Jazzy Jay, as well as the legendary Hip Hop and dance icons that influenced them.


David Hollander is a music supervisor, DJ, and record collector.  Born in Los

Angeles, David grew up in the industry, where he amassed a long list of credits as a child actor. His lifelong passion for records eventually led to his "Cinemaphonic" series, which is widely regarded by collectors as one of the pearls of vintage library music re-issue. Currently living in Marfa, Texas, David's credits include Cartoon Network's "My Gym Partner's A Monkey", Scion's "Easy 10", and "Collateral".


Directed by


Story by


Screenplay by


Produced by


Executive Producers








Associate Producer


Line Producer


Director of Photography


Production Design


Costume Design




Casting Director


Music Supervisor


Original Music




Visual Effects Supervisor



(Listed in Alphabetical Order)

Aunt Billy

Phyllis Applegate


Obba Babatunde

Captain Yancy

William Bassett

Kid #1

Troy Lindsey Brown

Black Dynamite’s Mother

Cheryl Carter


Fredella Calloway

Valet Girl

Juka Ceesay


Kevin Chapman


Lucky Davis

Cream Corn

Tommy Davidson

Neighborhood Kid

Nicholas Earley


Richard Edson

Soul Brother

Jason Jack Edwards

12 year old Black Dynamite

Jon Kent Ethridge

Woman at table

Mary Evans


Dionne Gipson

16 year old Jimmy

Cory Gluck

Tasty Freeze

Arsenio Hall

Militant 2

Darrel Heath


Paul Hayes

Black Chick

Ashlie R. Jackson

White Woman Swimming

Justine Jolie


Irwin Keyes


Izetta Karp


John Kerry

Asian Chick

Sheryn Lascano

Teasing Boy #1

Daniel Leavitt


Buddy Lewis

18 year old Black Dynamite

Neil Lewis

Drug Dealing Pimp

Buddy Love

Sweet Meat

Brian McKnight

Richard Nixon

James McManus


Byron Minns

Dumb Broad #1

Jessica Moreno


Phil Morris


Joy Mulligan


Tumani Nicole

Mo Bitches

Miguel Nunez

Club M.C.

Victor Orlando

Mahogany Black

Nicole Ari Parker

Thug #2

Damian Poitier


Salli Richardson-Whitfield


Akhir Shabazz Regains

Militant 1

Chris Spencer


Candace Rice


John Salley

White Chick

Brittney Sorensen

Congressman Monroe James

Tucker Smallwood


Mike Starr

Thug #1

Larnell Stovall

Patricia Nixon

Nicole Sullivan


Nakia Syvonne

Kid #2

Ben Tan

Pretty Terry

Paul Taylor


Baron Vaughn


Al Vicente


Jimmy Walker Jr

Black Dynamite

Michael Jai White

Willy Sly

Billy Sly Williams

Donut Man

Lee Whitaker

Honey Bee

Kym Whitley

Chicago Wind

Mykelti Williamson

Back Hand Jack

Bokeem Woodbine

Dr. Wu

Roger Yuan

Chocolate Giddy Up

Cedric Yarbrough

Stunt Coordinator /

2nd Unit Director

Ron Yuan

Fight Coordinator

Ron Yuan

Co-Fight Coordinator

Roger Yuan

Assistant Stunt/Fight Coordinators

Michael Wilson

Kerry Wong

Action Consultants

Ron Yuan

Kerry Wong

Michael Wilson

Christopher Donlon

Stunt Players

Tsuyoshi Abe

Robbie Alexander

Pete Antico

Clayton Barber

Troy Lindsey Brown

Fernando Chien

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