With the success of Black Panther, and Octavia Butler’s novels Dawn and Wild Seed going into development for television, now is a great time to usher in Black science fiction as the next frontier for genre storytelling. An emerging voice hoping to take Black sci-fi out of the margins and into the mainstream is writer and director Michael Cooke per his science fiction thriller, Freeman Hospitality.
Taking place in 2055 in the wake of a second American civil war, Freeman Hospitality centers on The Freemans, a Black family who runs a private security company and escorts a foreign journalist named Natalie Pembrook into the war-torn badlands of South Georgia. Determined but naive, Pembrook travels to the United States to interview a powerful warlord who surfaced in the aftermath of a second civil war.
Inspired by and modeled in the vein of story-driven sci-fi such as Children of Men and The Expanse, Cooke leaned into America’s overindulgence in fossil fuels, tense political climate and lenient laws toward financial crimes to craft the world of Freeman Hospitality. In the film, Cooke’s grim vision of America in 2055 is painted with clues of how the country got therefrom 2019.
Cooke also presents a rarity seen in American science fiction cinema, an entrepreneurial Black family at the helm. Seeking to challenge the traditional stereotypes of what a Black family looks like on film, Cooke filmed on location at his grandparents’ land in Albany, Georgia and self-financed the production.
Watch the concept of Freeman Hospitality below and donate to the Seed and Spark campaign here.
Photo: Michael Cooke
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