Director Nikyatu Jusu was recently named in Variety’s coveted "10 Directors to Watch" list. The award-winning film was produced by Nikkia Moulterie with Stay Gold Features’ Daniela Taplin Lundberg, and was executive produced by Topic Studios and LinLay Productions.
Blumhouse and Prime Video have secured worldwide rights for horror-drama NANNY from first-time feature writer/director Nikyatu Jusu. NANNY premiered at Sundance this year in the U.S. Dramatic Competition to rave reviews and won the Sundance Grand Jury Prize, the first horror film to take the festival’s top honor.
Critical praise for NANNY included the New York Times, which praised the film as a " standout... for both its visceral shocks and its lush beauty," and Anna Diop’s performance as “remarkable” while Variety highlighted Jusu’s “confident” directing. Amy Taubin for Artforum states, "In the twenty-three years I’ve gone to Sundance, I’ve seen perhaps a half dozen first fiction features by artists who have the intelligence, skill, and sense of form to create a movie that is revelatory from first to last. NANNY is one of them."
The acquisition of NANNY by Prime Video and Blumhouse Television continues the successful collaboration between the two companies that was forged in 2019, to release genre films under the banner Welcome to the Blumhouse in 2020 and 2021. The film was acquired from Topic Studios, Stay Gold Features and LinLay Productions.
“We’re proud to have writer/director Nikyatu Jusu’s NANNY as part of our slate for Amazon. It’s a gem of a horror film that combines impressive filmmaking and powerful storytelling, and is worthy of the Grand Jury Prize it was awarded at Sundance,” said Jason Blum, founder and CEO, Blumhouse.
“With NANNY, Nikaytu Jusu has crafted a film that is as haunting as it is powerful,” said Julie Rapaport, head of movies at Amazon Studios. “From the exceptional performances to its strong visual language, we can’t wait to share NANNY with our global audience and to continue our longstanding collaboration with Blumhouse.”
“Knowing my first feature, NANNY, is now among a roster of provocative and iconic work at Amazon is rewarding. Coupled with Blumhouse’s recognizability in the world of genre, horror specifically, I’m excited to be in the warm embrace of a team at the intersection of bold content and indie filmmaking sensibilities. My hope is that this acquisition stands as a testament to their continued bravery in ushering in unique voices,” said Nikyatu Jusu.
"Nikyatu is an immensely talented and visionary director whose haunting, unforgettable film mesmerized audiences at Sundance. We couldn't imagine better partners to now share NANNY with the world than the exceptional teams at Blumhouse and Amazon," said Maria Zuckerman of Topic Studios and Daniela Taplin Lundberg of Stay Gold Features.
“Nikyatu is a singular filmmaker, and supporting her on her debut feature has been rewarding. From building a truly multicultural team behind the camera, to linking arms with Blumhouse and Amazon, it’s been amazing,” said Grace Lay and Sumalee Montano of LinLay Productions, and Nikkia Moulterie.
NANNY stars Anna Diop (Us) as a Senegalese immigrant nanny, piecing together a new life in New York City while caring for the child of an Upper East Side family, who is forced to confront a concealed truth that threatens to shatter her American Dream. Michelle Monaghan (The Craft: Legacy, Gone Baby Gone), Sinqua Walls (The 15:17 to Paris, Resort to Love), Morgan Spector (The Gilded Age), and Rose Decker (Mare of Easttown) also star.
Jusu, who recently won the 2022 Inaugural Motion Pictures Association Creator Award and was named one of Variety’s “10 Directors to Watch,” has her next project set up with Jordan Peele’s Monkeypaw and Universal. Prior to directing NANNY, Jusu’s short film Suicide by Sunlight was nominated for a 2019 Sundance Grand Jury Short Film award. While a student at New York University’s Tisch Graduate Film school where she was a recipient of the Spike Lee Fellowship award and the Princess Grace Narrative Film Award, Jusu won a DGA Student Film Award - Jury Prize, Best African American Student Filmmaker - East Region for her short film Say Grace Before Drowning (2010) and DGA Student Film Award - Honorable Mention, Best African American Student Filmmaker - East Coast for her short African Booty Scratcher (2007).
Behind the camera, NANNY hails from a strong female filmmaking team led by Jusu, including cinematographer Rina Yang (Euphoria) lensing her first narrative feature; producers Nikkia Moulterie (Suicide by Sunlight) and Daniela Taplin Lundberg of Stay Gold Features (Harriet); and executive producers Maria Zuckerman (Spencer) of Topic Studios, and Grace Lay and Sumalee Montano of LinLay Productions (Riotsville, U.S.A.).
NANNY is also executive produced by Nikyatu Jusu; Ryan Heller and Michael Bloom for Topic Studios; Rebecca Cammarata for Stay Gold Features; and Jason Blum, Chris McCumber and Jeremy Gold for Blumhouse Television.
Jusu is represented by M88, CAA, and Granderson Des Rochers. The deal was negotiated by CAA Media Finance.
Blumhouse is a multimedia company regarded as the driving force in the horror renaissance. The company has produced over 150 movies and television series with theatrical grosses amounting to over $4.8 billion. In film, the company has produced iconic, genre, film franchises like Halloween, Paranormal Activity, The Purge, and prolific films like Leigh Whannell’s The Invisible Man; Glass, The Visit and Split from M. Night Shyamalan; Spike Lee’s BlacKkKlansman; Get Out from Jordan Peele; among several others. The television company operates in horror programming - with streaming anthology series like Welcome to the Blumhouse for Amazon and a slate of horror/thriller films for Epix - and has also expanded beyond genre with provocative and acclaimed scripted and unscripted series and documentaries, such as The Thing About Pam, starring two-time Academy Award winner Renée Zellweger, for NBC; The Horror of Dolores Roach, starring Justina Machado, for Amazon; The Good Lord Bird, starring Academy Award nominee Ethan Hawke, for Showtime; The Jinx for HBO; and lauded HBO series Sharp Objects, starring Amy Adams and Patricia Clarkson, among others.
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About Topic Studios
Topic Studios is the award-winning entertainment studio from First Look Media that develops, finances and produces provocative and entertaining content for all platforms including theatrical, streaming, television and podcasts.
The Studio is behind such notable films as Nikyatu Jusu’s Nanny, winner of the U.S. Dramatic Grand Jury Prize at the 2022 Sundance Film Festival; the Academy Award®-winning Spotlight; Pablo Larraìn’s Spencer, starring Kristen Stewart (Academy Award® and Golden Globe® nominee for her performance) as Princess Diana (with NEON); The Mauritanian, starring Jodie Foster (Golden Globe® winner for her performance), Tahar Rahim (Golden Globe® nominee for his performance), Benedict Cumberbatch, and Shailene Woodley (STX); and Adam Leon’s Italian Studies starring Academy Award® nominee Vanessa Kirby (Magnolia Pictures). Acclaimed documentaries from the Studio have included Stanley Nelson and Traci A. Curry’s Attica on Showtime (2022 Academy Award®-nominee for Best Documentary); the big wave surfing series, 100 Foot Wave, recently renewed for a second season, and the Film Independent Spirit Award-nominated, three-part series, Nuclear Family, both on HBO/HBO Max; The Fight, co-released with Magnolia Pictures; the Film Independent Spirit Award-nominated docuseries Love Fraud on Showtime; Lucy Walker’s wildfires documentary Bring Your Own Brigade, on Paramount+; and Mucho Mucho Amor on Netflix. Pioneering podcasts have included Pulitzer finalist and IDA Award-winning investigative podcast Somebody, with iHeartMedia; John Cameron Mitchell’s Anthem featuring Glenn Close, Cynthia Erivo and Patti LuPone; and The Messenger and American ISIS on Audible Plus. The Studio is also ramping up its scripted television division with the Untitled Martin Lawrence Project, based on the acclaimed Israeli “HOT” series Nehama; also the Untitled Vincent Chin Project, a scripted drama limited series created by Marilyn Fu with Destin Daniel Cretton (Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings) attached to direct (in partnership with Amazon); and two premium dramas arising from the Studios’ previous first-look deal with Tracy Oliver (Harlem), including the adult thriller Savannah with PKM Productions for Amazon Studios.
About Stay Gold Features - Production Company
Since launching in 2016, Stay Gold Features has produced nine feature films, all of which were financed or acquired by major distributors. Recent releases include Focus Features’ HARRIET directed by Kasi Lemmons and starring Cynthia Erivo in her Academy Award nominated role; as well as Alma Har’el’s HONEY BOY which was nominated for four Independent Spirit Awards; Nikole Beckwiths’ TOGETHER TOGETHER starring Ed Helms and Patti Harrison, which premiered at Sundance and was nominated for two Independent Spirit Awards; and Reinaldo Marcus Green’s JOE BELL starring Mark Wahlberg and Connie Britton. Stay Gold also produced the Black List ranked supernatural horror film NANNY, written and directed by Nikyatu Jusu which won the Grand Jury Prize at the 2022 Sundance Film Festival.
Additional Stay Gold Features films include Sundance Film Festival breakout PATTI CAKE$ starring Danielle Macdonald, which was acquired and distributed by Fox Searchlight; A CIAMBRA, directed by Jonas Carpignano, which was Italy’s 2018 Oscar submission, and UNDER THE SILVER LAKE, directed and written by David Robert Mitchell and starring Andrew Garfield, which was acquired and distributed by A24.
About LinLay Productions:
LinLay Productions is led by Grace Lay and actress Sumalee Montano. The two Asian-American women support intergenerational stories that center multicultural talent in front of and behind the camera. LinLay strives to amplify voices that deserve the chance to leave a visible and lasting mark in the history of storytelling.