Sundance’s NEXT category is dedicated to the films that are bold and distinguished by an innovative and forward-thinking approach to storytelling. One of 2019’s entries is from first-time feature director Tayarisha Poe. Her film, Selah and the Spades is a character study of a teenage girl who gets an intoxicating taste of power in high school politics.
Per the film’s official synopsis:
In the closed world of an elite Pennsylvania boarding school, the Haldwell, the student body is run by five factions. Seventeen-year-old Selah Summers (Lovie Simone) runs the most dominant group, the Spades, with unshakable poise, as they cater to the most classic of vices and supply students with coveted, illegal alcohol and pills. Tensions between the factions escalate, and when Selah’s best friend/right hand Maxxie (MOONLIGHT’s Jharrel Jerome) becomes distracted by a new love, Selah takes on a protégée, enamored sophomore Paloma (Celeste O’Connor), to whom she imparts her wisdom on ruling the school. But with graduation looming and Paloma proving an impressively quick study, Selah’s fears turn sinister as she grapples with losing the control by which she defines herself.
Selah and the Spades will have its world premiere at Sundance on Sunday, January 27th in Park City, UT. For more information, visit the Sundance website for the film here.
Director and Screenwriter: Tayarisha Poe
Producers: Lauren McBride, Drew Houpt, Lucas Joaquin, Tayarisha Poe, Jill Ahrens
Executive Producers: Terence Nance, Ben Renzo, Ryan Ahrens, Tony Parker, Derrick Brooks, Michael Finley, Drew Brees, Jenifer Westphal, Julie Parker Benello, Nancy Stephens Rosenthal, Chaz Ebert, Alex Scharfman
Director Of Photography: Jomo Fray
Production Designer: Valeria De Felice
Costume Designer: Jami Villers
Editor: Kate Abernathy
Composer: Aska Matsumiya
Principal Cast: Lovie Simone, Celeste O’Connor, Jharrel Jerome, Gina Torres, Jesse Williams