Common Boards Social Justice Thriller ‘Grassland’ as Executive Producer | Exclusive

Grammy, Emmy and Oscar-winning performer Common has joined the upcoming social justice thriller “Grassland” as an executive producer through his social impact film division Free to Dream, TheWrap can exclusively reveal.

“Grassland” – the first trailer for which is available to view in the video above – is set in suburban New Jersey in the summer of 2008 against a backdrop of economic recession and the “Yes We Can” optimism of Barack Obama’s historic run for president. The film tells the story of a single Latina mother whose illegal marijuana business – and the young Black man who helps her – are jeopardized when her young son befriends the new neighbors, a young boy, and his police officer grandfather.

The film stars Mía Maestro, Quincy Isaiah, Jeff Kober and Ravi Cabot-Conyers and will have its world premiere as the Closing Night Film at the Los Angeles Latino International Film Festival on Sunday, June 2.

Common’s nonprofit social impact venture, Free to Dream, has a justice division that works with impacted communities to reframe the narrative around incarceration and generate awareness, enthusiasm, and support for rehabilitation services.

David Goldblum and Adam Edery produced “Grassland,” which film marks the directorial debuts of William Bermudez and Sam Friedman, who wrote the screenplay, with a story by Bermudez, Friedman, Goldblum, and Edery. Executive Producers include Paul Blavin and Amy Blavin, Mara Burros Sandler, Marie Cisco, as well as Exit 14’s Sam Silverstein and Jeremy Paczos. Zach Nicita composed the score.

The “Grassland” team launched a robust impact and advocacy campaign aimed to target relevant federal, state-level criminal justice reform and the estimated 40,000+ Americans still in prison on low-level marijuana possession charges, despite the legal cannabis industry being estimated to hit $34 billion in 2024. Free to Dream and The Last Prisoner Project are the film’s non-profit advocacy partners.

Per a statement, the film team began its impact work during pre-production, providing paid opportunities for those directly impacted by the U.S. criminal legal system to have a seat at the table through all levels of the shoot. Some of the opportunities included “hiring crew members who were formerly incarcerated, hiring consulting producers with lived experience with the criminal legal system and curating special programming during production meetings on set, where guest speakers came to share their experience with incarceration.”

As part of their partnership with lifestyle brand Shinola, the film’s team is working alongside Free to Dream to launch a multi-city screening tour in colleges and under-represented communities. Each screening will feature panels with activists in the cannabis equity space.

Common is represented by UTA, Ceremony Music, Brillstein Entertainment Partners, SMAC Entertainment, The Lede Company, and Think Common Entertainment.

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