EXCLUSIVE: Bryon Allen’s Freestyle Digital Media has picked up the North American VOD rights to Emmy winning filmmaker Kern Konwiser’s documentary, Still a Black Star about Japanese artist and environmental activist Mago Nagasaka.
The pic will debut on VOD platforms and on DVD on Nov. 7 before a theatrical premiere at Laemmle Theaters in Los Angeles on Oct. 16 and Consolidated Theatres Kahala in Hawaii on Oct. 27.
Still a Black Star captures the rise of one of Japan’s most celebrated artists who aims to change the world by starting in its most forgotten corner. The film follows Mago as he traces the flow of waste & recycling from the world’s wealthiest nations to its final destination, a fiery e-waste graveyard in Ghana, Africa where electronics are burned to recover the precious metals they contain while poisoning the people and devastating the land. Embedding in the settlement known as Agbogbloshie, Mago pursues an audacious dream—to open an art museum in the midst of this notorious slum, which is one of the most toxic places on earth. In collaboration with the local residents, Mago creates art out of the world’s discarded devices, turning trash into paintings, murals and sculptures. When the art pieces are sold, the money is used for education and sustainable development in Ghana. Through these activities, Mago has started a free school, a plastics recycling center, and a series of innovative sustainability art projects in Ghana. Mago’s mission is to raise an awareness of global overconsumption through the art.
Konwiser also wrote and produced. EPs are Kern’s Emmy winning producing partner and brother, Kip Konwiser, alongside Nick Koskoff, Emma Tillinger Koskoff of First Love Films, Nagasaka, Scott Feinstein of 42West and Glenn Rigberg of Inphenate.
“My art expresses a human society wholly out of balance,” said Nagasaka. “My goal is quite simple: to transform this graveyard of dead electronics into a global movement for sustainable living that can help us save the planet from ourselves.”
“We tend not to think about what happens to our old devices and products when we replace them with new ones,” said Konwiser. “Still a Black Star reminds us that we all share the same planet and nothing we toss out truly goes away.”
The crowd-funded feature documentary won the Audience Award at the Newport Beach Film Festival and earned Impact DOC Awards in four different categories (Documentary Feature, Social Change, Asian Film, and Nature/Environment/Wildlife).