Shadow and Act has exclusively learned that Queen Sugar season 5 is back in production. The season had just gotten underway once the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic hit and production was suspended.
The series, from Ava DuVernay, has resumed production on the 10-episode season. The season is set to air in 2021 on OWN. When filming halted, DuVernay decided to “completely revamp” the season to address what is going on in the country through the lens of the Bordeleon family and the St. Josephine community.
As the network states, “DuVernay reconceived the character arcs and storylines, writing alongside returning showrunner Anthony Sparks and co-executive producer Norman Vance to tackle head-on the COVID-19 pandemic, the Black Lives Matter protest movement that swept the country, and the lead-up to elections to showcase the specific impact and ramifications these issues have on communities and people of color. Through it all, viewers will see the joy around the pain, and humanity’s ability to persevere and find light in the darkest of times.”
The directorial lineup for season 5 includes Lauren Wolkstein (who is also now a producing director), Lisa France and Cierra Glaude. This season continues the initiative started by DuVernay in the first season of an all-female directing team. Thirty-two women have made their television directorial debut on the show, which also has inclusive hiring with female department heads from casting to post-production and music supervision.
Queen Sugar stars Rutina Wesley, Dawn-Lyen Gardner, Kofi Siriboe, Tina Lifford, Omar Dorsey, Bianca Lawson, Nicholas L. Ashe and Ethan Hutchison. It revolves around three siblings in a rural Louisiana town and the events that happen after the unexpected death of their father.
The first four seasons of Queen Sugar are available to stream exclusively on Hulu.
Learn more about the directors below:
Lauren Wolkstein directed her first episode of television on “Queen Sugar” Season 3, and has since been upped to producing director, helming five episodes this season. Wolkstein is a NYC-based filmmaker originally from Baltimore, Maryland. In 2017, her debut feature “The Strange Ones” premiered at SXSW to critical acclaim, which she co-directed with Christopher Radcliff based on their Sundance short of the same name. Lauren’s previous shorts, including “Social Butterfly” (Sundance ’13) and “Cigarette Candy” (SXSW ’10 Grand Jury Prize), have played festivals around the world. Following her television directorial debut on “Queen Sugar,” she directed episodes of “Cloak and Dagger” and “Dare Me.” In 2013, Filmmaker Magazine listed her as one of the “25 New Faces of Independent Film.” Wolkstein is a Women at Sundance Fellow through the Sundance Institute and a MacDowell Colony Fellow. Lauren earned her MFA in film directing from Columbia University and is now an Associate Professor of Film and Media Arts at Temple University.
Lisa France directed her first feature film, “Anne B, Real,” in 2003, which won more than 30 film festival awards and nominations, including two Independent Spirit Award nominations (Debut Performance and the John Cassavetes Award). She then filmed “Love and Suicide” in Cuba before its theatrical release through AMC Select, and “The Unseen,” which sold to Netflix, Starz and Encore. Her award-winning short film debut “Love in Tow” starred Zach Braff and Quentin Crisp. Her first documentary, “Roll with Me,” which also garnered numerous awards, debuted at The Woodstock Film Festival and was a 2018 Slamdance Official Selection, later acquired and distributed by ARRAY Releasing. “Queen Sugar” marks France’s television directorial debut.
Cierra Glaude made her directorial debut in 2017 at UrbanWorld Film Festival with her short “Last Looks,” starring Rutina Wesley (“Queen Sugar”), which was featured on Issa Rae’s YouTube Channel as a part of the #ShortFilmSunday lineup. In 2019, she was selected by Lena Waithe for the AT&T Hello Labs Filmmaker Mentorship Program, where she directed a short film titled “Spilt Milk,” featuring Dasha Polanco (“Orange is the New Black) & Zuri Adele (“Good Trouble”). Hailing from Mobile, Alabama, Glaude received her start in the industry with an opportunity to work alongside Ava DuVernay on feature film “Selma” in 2014, making the decision to leave The University of Alabama a year early to pursue her passion in film. She then worked various crew positions on the sets of “Girls Trip,” “Twenties” and “A Wrinkle in Time.” After serving various production roles on DuVernay’s “Queen Sugar” over multiple seasons, Glaude was tapped by the show’s creator to direct three episodes of season five, marking her television directorial debut.