WeTransfer announces its latest film commission "The Brown Dog" - AmNews Curtain Raiser


Tuesday, June 11, 2024

WeTransfer announces its latest film commission "The Brown Dog"


WeTransfer announces its latest film commission The Brown Dog, a short animated film executive produced by WeTransfer and Steve Buscemi, and voiced by the late Michael K. Williams (The Wire, Boardwalk Empire) in his last featured performance.


Co-directed by award-winning documentarian Nadia Hallgren, the director of the Emmy-nominated Michelle Obama documentary Becoming, and creative director Jamie-James Medina (The xx, FKA twigs, Sampha), The Brown Dog is their first work of fiction.


Joining Hallgren and Medina is a world-class team of collaborators including animator Fons Schiedon (Mickey: The Story of a Mouse) and Pulitzer Prize-winning composer Tyshawn Sorey. The film also reunites Buscemi with Williams, his Boardwalk Empire co-star, in a supporting voice role.


The Brown Dog will make its New York premiere at the 2024 Tribeca Film Festival on Friday, June 14, with subsequent showings on June 15 and 16. Screening tickets are available now here. The film will make its world premiere at the American Black Film Festival on June 12, and its international premiere at Raindance Film Festival in London on June 25th.


Rendered in a palette of saturated yellow and dead-of-night black, it is Mr. Williams's unforgettable cadence that drives The Brown Dog. He voices the main character “NOBODY,” the night watchman for an upscale apartment complex, whose feelings of isolation spark an existential crisis. Cold and alone, NOBODY goes in search of a mysterious brown dog, taking us on a riveting tour of an unraveling mind at work. The film itself is a celebration of Mr. Williams and the deep truth he brought to every character he inhabited — only his voice could speak so quietly but profoundly to the experiences of those living on the margins of the American dream.


Nadia Hallgren said: "As a documentary filmmaker, my work is connected to the natural world and how we, as people, fit into it. The fictional story of NOBODY is no different, exploring human themes of loneliness and class. The character asks you to feel something real — a point made even more prescient with the passing of Mr. Williams. In making The Brown Dog, we are reminded of the dignity and deep truth he brought to every character he inhabited.”


Matt Goldman, the longtime representative of Michael K. Williams said: “The filmmakers have crafted a stunning portrait of sorrow in the ascendant, reminding us that Michael’s spirit and artistry are eternal. He would be incredibly proud of this film.”


Steve Buscemi said: "Michael K. Williams was one of the finest actors I've ever had the privilege of working with, and a caring and loving human being to boot. His unique talent is on full display in this haunting and memorable performance of NOBODY in The Brown Dog. I'm grateful to the filmmakers for inviting my producing partner Wren Arthur and I to be a part of this powerful and poignant film. Long live the memory of Michael K!"


WeTransfer, through its arts platform WePresent, has a history of commissioning short films that have played at prestigious film festivals and won awards. Their short film commission The Long Goodbye with Riz Ahmed, became the first brand film to win an Academy Award in 2022, in the Best Live Action Short Film category. Together with the filmmakers of The Brown Dog, WeTransfer acted as executive producers to bring the vision to life.


Holly Fraser, VP Content at WeTransfer said: “When the filmmakers approached us with the idea for The Brown Dog almost two years ago, we knew instantly that this was a story that we wanted to help tell the world. It’s a privilege to be able to commission work from rare talents such as Nadia Hallgren and Jamie-James Medina, and while the central themes of the film - loneliness, longing and hope petering out into disappointment - are ones that we feel will resonate deeply with audiences today, it’s the addition of the singular voice of Michael K. Williams that felt particularly poignant. WeTransfer is dedicated to uplifting and empowering creativity, and through the stories we commission we hope that we’re able to inspire fellow creatives from across the globe to share theirs.” 

The Brown Dog was produced by Nadia Hallgren and Jamie-James Medina for SOUNDVIEW projects with Michael Stirton, and executive produced by Holly Fraser, Damian Bradfield, Alex Mattinson and Phil van der Krogt at WeTransfer, and Steve Buscemi and Wren Arthur for Olive Productions.


For more information, interview requests or high-res imagery, please contact:

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Director: Nadia Hallgren and Jamie-James Media

Producer: Nadia Hallgren, Jamie-James Media, Michael Stirton

Executive Producer: Holly Fraser, Damian Bradfield, Alex Mattinson, Phil van der Krogt, Wren Arthur, Steve Buscemi

Cast: Michael K. Williams, Steve Buscemi

Writer: Willis Earl Beal

Animation: Fons Schiedon

Composer: Tyshawn Sorey

Editor: Spencer Campbell

Sound Designer: Michalis Anthis


About The Brown Dog

At night, a watchman clocks into a lonely security booth in the empty parking lot of an upscale apartment complex. Voiced by the late Michael K. Williams, the character — identified only as “NOBODY” — spends his shifts composing endless security logs to stay awake. "What will these bizarrely acute observations amount to?," NOBODY asks. As the darkness slowly closes in on him, he abandons his post and goes in search of a mysterious brown dog. Website: thebrown.dog


About WeTransfer

WeTransfer, the most creative platform for sharing ideas, makes it easy for creative professionals and creators to share and distribute content, and collaborate with teams. With an average of 80 million monthly active users in 190 countries, WeTransfer is a certified B Corporation™ and a long-time champion of using business as a force for good. Since its founding in 2009, the company has donated up to 30% of its advertising real estate to raise awareness for artists, creative work, and the world’s most pressing issues. In 2021, it launched the Supporting Act Foundation to support emerging artists through bursaries and grants.


About WePresent

WePresent is WeTransfer’s arts platform, acting as the company’s cultural torchbearer to a monthly audience of approximately 3 million in 190 countries. Collaborating with emerging young talent to renowned artists such as Marina Abramović, Riz Ahmed, FKA twigs or Solange Knowles, WePresent showcases the best in art, photography, film, music, literature and more, championing diversity in everything it does. The platform’s commissions range from editorial features to films, illustrations, photography series, events, and exhibitions, with an aim to offer a fresh take on the magic and mystery of creative ideas. WePresent were the commissioners and Executive Producers of the acclaimed short film 'The Long Goodbye' by actor and musician Riz Ahmed and director Aneil Karia, which won an Academy Award in 2022 for Best Live Action Short Film.


About Nadia Hallgren

With over eighteen years of experience as a documentary cinematographer, Nadia Hallgren is considered a master in the craft of vérité filmmaking — capturing events unfolding in real time. As a director, she brings the same practice of generosity and empathy to all of her work. Her feature credits include Becoming, the Emmy-nominated documentary companion to Michelle Obama’s best-selling memoir and Civil: Ben Crump, a portrait of the civil rights attorney and lead counsel for the families of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor. On trusting Hallgren with her story, the former First Lady commented, “Because she’s a rare talent, someone whose intelligence and compassion for others comes through in every frame she shoots. Most importantly, she understands the meaning of community, the power of community, and her work is magically able to depict it.”


About Jamie-James Medina

Jamie-James Medina is a British photographer, director and creative consultant. As a photographer, his images are defined by an ability to capture intimate moments with subjects as diverse as music, politics and culture. Working across six continents, those subjects have included Jay-Z, Lady Gaga and Elon Musk, as well as in-depth reports on New Orleans during Hurricane Katrina, the humanitarian crisis in Sudan’s Darfur region and 2016’s US presidential election. As a director, he has worked to visually define the careers of musicians like The xx, FKA twigs and Sampha, producing music videos and live experiences. As a creative consultant, his ideas have informed campaigns for Sprite and Nike.


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