Following the 20th anniversary of the Urbanworld Film Festival, RLJ Entertainment has acquired and is set to release Leila Djansi’s compelling new feature film, “Like Cotton Twines.” The film, which screened in the World Narrative Category at this year’s festival, follows Micah (Jay Ellis, “The Game,” HBO’s “Insecure”), an American volunteer who teaches in a Ghanaian village and harbors high expectations for his mother’s homeland. He’s eager to help his students reach their full potential, especially the bright 13-year-old Tuigi (Ophelia Klenam Dzidzornu). But when Tuigi’s family must pay for an accident caused by her father, Tuigi must abandon her education and offer herself as a sex slave. Outraged and upset, Micah battles the tribal culture, religious customs, and the state itself in order to save Tuigi from a cruel fate.

“This film is almost akin to a marriage between Africans and African Americans. Our stories are deeply personal experiences that no one can tell to the world better than us. UMC is a foundation on which such stories can rest. I am continuously grateful that I am able to add to its tapestry,” said Djansi.

“Like Cotton Twines” is slated to premiere on RLJE’s subscription video on demand service, Urban Movie Channel (UMC) in December 2016. The film will also be released on DVD in early 2017.


In addition to “Like Cotton Twines,” RLJ Entertainment also acquired Urbanworld film festival alum “Knucklehead,” which screened in 2015. Starring Alfre Woodard and Gbenga Akinnagbe (HBO’s “The Wire”), who also produced the project, the film follows a young man who suffers from a mental disability and is convinced that prescription drugs can cure him.

“‘Knucklehead’ is about the undeniable power of faith moving us forward in our lives despite what obstacles we might encounter. We made this movie about characters in Brooklyn, but anyone whose life has been touched by someone who faces mental health challenges will find hope and a reason to laugh in this uplifting story about one young man’s struggle to help himself,” said director and producer Ben Bowman. “Gbenga Akinnagbe is a force of nature. I’m honored that he put his passion into bringing this project to the screen. I agree with Alfre Woodard that he is ‘one of the most gifted and versatile actors of his generation.'”

To date, “Knucklehead” has only been seen at select film festivals throughout the country. It will premiere exclusively on UMC on Friday, October 21, 2016, marking the first time the film will be widely released and available nationally.

“Knucklehead” will also be released on DVD on December 6, 2016.

Watch a clip from “Like Cotton Twines” below (no trailer or clips available for “Knucklehead”):