I don’t know why this film has yet to be made available on some online platform that would make it widely accessible. It’s been almost 3 years since we first profiled it on this blog, in late 2012, but, thus far, since its debut (it premiered at the SXSW Film Festival in the spring of 2013), it’s screened primarily at festivals and one-off events; for example, earlier this year, it screened for 3 days only in New York City, courtesy of ImageNation, in Harlem (sadly I wasn’t able to see it, and I still haven’t seen it). I would’ve expected an online release of some kind by now – maybe on iTunes, for a fee, of course – so that a lot more of us can have access to it. But the filmmakers obviously have other plans for it.
But what I can tell you today is that it has now been released exclusively on Jay-Z’s new music streaming service, TIDAL, which was recently officially launched to much fanfare.
Titled “They Die By Dawn,” it’s a western featuring black cowboys & girls, conceived and directed by Jeymes Samuel of The Bullitts (a collaborative group of artists – both in music and film – headed by Samuel).
The all-star cast includes fan favorites: Jesse Williams, Michael K. Williams, Isaiah Washington, Bokeem Woodbine, Clifton Powell, Rosario Dawson, Giancarlo Esposito, Erykah Badu, and others.
It’s not quite a feature film however, given its length (51 minutes), and I actually expected (and still do expect) a feature adaptation is likely what the filmmakers are planning for, which may be why they are being very bashful with its availability.
Based on a series of real-life stories, here’s the synop: “Four outlaws with a bounty on each head, set a date for a shootout in Langston, Oklahoma. The last man takes the collective bounty. Violence and mayhem ensue.”
I don’t plan to sign up for TIDAL; although, according to the website, there is a 30-day free trial, so you can give it a test run. And, after 30 days, if you decide to keep the service, it’ll cost you $9.99/month for the standard sound quality option, or $19.99 for HD sound quality. With both, you’ll have access to HD quality videos, which, I assume, also includes films like “They Die By Dawn.”
You can cancel your trial any time before it ends and no charges will apply. So, I may just do that actually, if only so that I can finally watch the film, and then cancel immediately afterward. Hopefully it’s a straightforward cancellation process.
If you’ve already signed up for TIDAL, or plan to, check out the film, if you haven’t, and share your thoughts in the comment section below.
Watch the trailer: