Leeds's Hyde Park Picture House to host special screening of Jada Pinkett Smith-produced Sprinter

Hyde Park Picture House will host a special screening of a film about a track-and-field star ahead of its general release in UK cinemas.

Friday, 30th August 2019, 11:21 am
Akeem Sharp (Dale Elliott) in the foreground. Credit: Kush Films.

The heritage cinema is working with Leeds Black Film Club and Kush Films to put on Sprinter tomorrow (Saturday).

It has been directed by celebrated Jamaican filmmaker Storm Saulter’s feature is set to arrive in UK cinemas on September 6.

Akeem Sharp (Dale Elliott) in the foreground. Credit: Kush Films.

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The event at Hyde Park, which starts at 5pm, will feature a Q&A with star Shantol Jackson (who also appeared in Yardie) and producer Rob Maylor.

The film was produced by Overbrook Entertainment with Jada Pinkett Smith and Will Smith as executive producer.

It is a coming-of-age story about Akeem Sharp (Dale Elliott), nicknamed ‘The Rasta Rocket’ for his dreadlocks and amazing running speed.

Will Smith and Jada Pinkett Smith arriving at the 86th Academy Awards held at the Dolby Theatre in Hollywood, Los Angeles. Picture: Ian West/PA Wire.

Pinkett Smith said: "Sprinter showcases the unbreakable bond between parents and their children. The film is a testament to the powerful, personal, and universal stories that can be told when underrepresented voices are given access, inclusion, and opportunity.

"Will and I are so proud of this film, and are beyond excited to share it with families in the UK."

In the film, Akeem wants to be Jamaica’s next top track-and-field star and hopes his athletic talent will catapult him into the US college system and reunite with his mother, who left him as a child.

But his dream faces obstacles from his turbulent home life with a volatile father and an older, former athlete and scam-artist brother who works his way into Akeem’s career.

Hyde Park Picture House.

It is Saulter’s second feature film, following the 2011 award-winning debut film Better Mus’ Come, which was "hailed by critics as signalling a fresh new movement of independent filmmaking throughout the Caribbean," according to event organisers.

The film features a Jamaican and American cast including Kadeem Wilson (Ghett’ A Life), Dennis Titus (The Mighty Quinn), Shantol Jackson (Yardie), Bryshere Y. Gray (Empire), with Lorraine Toussaint (Selma, Orange is The New Black), and David Alan Grier (In Living Color, Jumanji), as well as a cameo from one of the most famous sprinter of all, Usain Bolt.

It also features original songs by Grammy Award-winning artist NE-YO and dancehall artist Shenseea.

Organisers said: "The film aims to move away from the stereotypical storylines of guns and gangsters typically told about Jamaica.

"It will bring a fresh and positive youthful energy to UK screens, with its inspirational coming-of-age story, energetic Jamaican dancehall music, and vibrant Caribbean cinematography all combining to produce a film that has the feel-good factor of 90s hit film Cool Runnings and the cinematic appeal of classic The Harder They Come."

The release is supported by the British Film Institute's Audience Fund, which has awarded money from the National Lottery.

The film will be released in selected Odeon, Picturehouse and Cineworld cinemas as well as a number of art house cinemas across the UK.