God's Country

IFH 737: How to Write for and Land a Movie Star for Your Indie Film with Shaye Ogbonna


We have on the show today writer Shaye Ogbonna.

When not in pursuit of retro sneakers, Shaye Ogbonna can be found worshiping at the Temple of Story. His most recent feature project is the contemporary western feature GOD’S COUNTRY — starring the incomparable Thandiwe Newton.

Based on a short story by acclaimed author James Lee Burke, God’s Country is a character-driven thriller set in the snowy wilderness of the American West. Thandiwe Newton plays Sandra Guidry, a Black professor living and working in a rural college town. She’s also grieving her recently-deceased mother, for whom she’d served as primary caretaker. On the day of the burial, Sandra discovers a mysterious red truck parked in her driveway.

She soon learns it belongs to a pair of local hunters seeking to enter the forest behind her house. Sandra turns them away politely but firmly – her experience tells her these are not the sort of men to welcome freely into her world. But they won’t take no for an answer, and soon Sandra finds herself drawn into an escalating battle of wills that puts her most deeply-held values to the test.

In the television/streaming space, Shaye is currently developing JUMPMEN — a one-hour drama set in the cutthroat world of the sneaker industry – with Showtime. He is also staffed on Showtime’s THE CHI and JJ Abrams’s DUSTER on HBO. His feature writing debut — 2017’s genre-bending LOWLIFE — opened the 2017 Fantasia Film Festival and became a darling of the genre festival circuit, culminating in its acquisition and worldwide distribution through IFC Midnight.

Shaye’s creative mission is to center marginalized voices within genre storytelling.

Enjoy my conversation with Shaye Ogbonna. 

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