In Production: Film Based on Black Woman Who Becomes Matriarch of 20th Century Jewish Family
Photo Credit: S & A

In Production: Film Based on Black Woman Who Becomes Matriarch of 20th Century Jewish Family


There’s another “Proud Mary” film in development (in addition to the Sony/Screen Gems Taraji P. Henson action-drama that’s currently in production, which added to its cast yesterday). Although this one has now changed its name to the more conventional “Abide.”

It was also first announced before the Henson/Sony/Screen Gems project, which was unveiled in January of this year.

In march 2016, Nous Entertainment announced that it was in pre-production on its flagship film, “Proud Mary,” a biographical saga that chronicles a Baltimore family over seven decades, telling the true story of Mary Sharpe, a young, black, Christian orphan from Indiana and her eventual rise to becoming the Yiddish-speaking matriarch of a large Jewish family in 20th-century Baltimore. With race, abuse and the themes of redemption and hope at the core of the film, the story illustrates the cultural and social dynamics of 20th century Baltimore and its multi-cultural families.

The film will follow Mary Sharpe and her despair over the sudden loss of her family as a result of a train crash in rural Indiana. Eventually a twist of fate brings her to the Levine household in Baltimore, where over the ensuing years of her life, she rises to the role of Matriarch.

Rafael Alvarez – a Baltimore native, writer and producer known for his work on HBO’s “The Wire” – is co-writing the screenplay with fellow Baltimore native, and founder of Nous Entertainment Adam Scherr.

Nous Entertainment has provided updates on the project, sharing that, first, the film is now titled “Abide” (likely in response to the announcement of the Henson/Sony/Screen Gems project made in January; although they don’t say that specifically). They also say that the directorial team, Coodie Simmons and Chike Ozah (known professionally as Coodie and Chike), are now attached to helm the film. The pair launched their careers with the music video for Kanye West’s “Through the Wire.” They have continued their music video success directing for Kanye West again, as well as videos for Pitbull, Mos Def, Erykah Badu, Lupe Fiasco and more. In terms of feature films, Coodie & Chike directed the ESPN documentary film, “Benji” (2012). They also directed a documentary on the life of Early Lloyd, the first African American to play in the NBA.

In addition to Coodie and Chike, Nous Entertainment also announces that Staci R. Collins Jackson has joined “Abide” as producer. Collins has worked with the likes of Charles D. King (MACRO ventures), Jesse Collins (Executive Producer of BET’s “The New Edition Story”), and director Tim Story. She is the publicist for Dee Rees’ “Mudbound,” which premiered at the 2017 Sundance Film Festival to much critical-acclaim and resulted in the highest sale at the 2017 festival.

“Mary’s story is infinitely strengthened by aligning with Baltimore institutions and natives who understand the unique history of – and opportunity for – Baltimore residents,” said Nous Founder, Scherr said in a previous statement. “We are honored that [co-writer] Mr. [Rafael] Alvarez will bring his expertise and authentic voice to the script and the story. Baltimore is a storied, complex city and it’s critical that our portrayal of this time and place is both genuine and uplifting.”

In addition to including local voices into the script, Nous is committed to casting locally born Baltimore talent and filming on-location. The company has also selected Baltimore-based Living Classrooms as a philanthropic partner and will announce further details as necessary.

Nous Entertainment LLC is an independent production company focused on the development, marketing and distribution of film and television programming aimed at balancing entertainment with issue-driven content.

Learn more about “Abide” at

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