‘Hair Love’: New Animated Video By ‘BlacKkKlansman’ Exec Matthew Cherry Gets Picked Up By Sony
A five-minute film about an African-American father trying to do his daughter’s hair raised $284,058 on Kickstarter in 2017, and now the film has been bought by Sony Pictures Animation.
Acquiring an independent animated short that was developed outside of its studio is not business-as-usual for a major animation studio, according to Cartoon Brew. But Sony feels emboldened to try new things following its break-out success with “Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse” and it’s done something that few other major animation studios have ever done.
Animation is also new territory for filmmaker Matthew A. Cherry, who executive produced “BlacKkKlansman” and has had directing gigs this year on “Whiskey Cavalier” and “The Red Line,” Deadline reported.
Cherry launched a Kickstarter campaign in 2017 to fund his first animated project with a fundraising goal of $75,000. Backers pledged almost $300,000, — the most ever earned by a short film on the crowdfunding platform.
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“People have constantly asked why the short has been taking so long to finish and this is part of the reason why,” Cherry wrote on his Kickstarter page. “So excited to be collaborating with Sony Pictures Animation on ‘Hair Love.'”
Cherry said he was trying, through animation, to show a positive image of Black fathers and their daughters while encouraging natural hair and self-love throughout the world. His Kickstarter page has videos that went viral of other dads doing their daughters’ hair.
“The story was born out of seeing a lack of representation in mainstream animated projects, and also wanting to promote hair love amongst young men and women of color,” Cherry said on Kickstarter. “It is our hope that this project will inspire.”
Cherry is breaking new ground, said Kristine Belson, president of Sony Pictures Animation, in a press release. “In the past year, it has been very clear that audiences have been yearning to see fresh stories that are universal and culturally authentic. ‘Hair Love’ is a wonderful father-daughter story and we are proud to nurture talented young filmmakers like Matthew.”
The appeal of the short film hinges on the seemingly mundane act of a father doing his daughter’s hair to boost her self-esteem and strengthen their bond, Cartoon Brew reported. “The story taps into the zeitgeist as the need for representation and diverse storytelling become increasingly prominent across the entertainment industry, animation not being the exception. “
A Chicago native, Cherry is a former NFL wide receiver-turned-filmmaker who played for the Jacksonville Jaguars, Cincinnati Bengals, Carolina Panthers and the Baltimore Ravens.
“Hair Love” is set to debut later in 2019, accompanied by a picture book published by Kokila Books/Penguin Random House releasing on May 14, 2019.