Array — the film collective founded by director Ava DuVernay dedicated to the amplification of films by people of color and women — has announced indie film “Echo Park” as its eleventh theatrical release. The drama marks the debut feature of director Amanda Marsalis.
“Echo Park” stars Mamie Gummer (“The Good Wife”) and Anthony Okungbowa (“The Ellen DeGeneres Show,” “Mother of George”) as two wandering souls who find themselves in the East Los Angeles neighborhood of the film’s title, one in search of escape and the other a new start.
Marsalis, a photographer, was instantly drawn to the script by Catalina Aguilar Mastretta, being herself an Echo Park resident. As Marsalis told Women and Hollywood when the film played at the 2014 Los Angeles Film Festival, “Echo Park” is at its heart a story “about a young woman in a complicated time in her life, trying to find her way.” She added, “I felt connected to the story of Sophie. It felt close to home, and that gave me the confidence to direct the film.”
The part of Sophie marks a welcome return to the big screen in a leading role for Mamie Gummer, most recently seen as a supporting player in Meryl Streep and Jennifer Aniston vehicles “Ricki and the Flash” and “Cake.”
As we see in the newly released trailer for the film, Sophie — feeling suffocated by her secure but mundane life — flees to Echo Park to find “something that’s just mine.” She confides to Okungbowa’s character Alex, “I just watched everyone around me get married, promoted, buy houses… but I just kept waking up every morning not wanting to do it.”
Alex is similarly skeptical of the expected trajectory for relationships and life in general, and they form an instant connection, but the trailer teases a “Brief Encounter”-style situation, with Alex intending to leave the neighborhood just as the two meet.
“We’re excited to introduce Amanda Marsalis and her gem ‘Echo Park’ produced by Anthony Okungbowa to audiences hungry for the work of bold, women directors and filmmakers of color,” said Array’s Executive Director Tilane Jones of the collective’s latest acquisition.
According to Array’s website, you can expect to watch “Echo Park” in spring 2016.