Gabourey Sidibe to make directorial debut with ‘Pale Horse’

"I’m so excited to create this gripping thriller with complex characters.”

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Gabourey Sidibe will make her feature debut with the psychological thriller Pale Horse, based on a story by Chris Courtney Martin

The story, per Deadline, follows Naia, a reclusive African-American YA book author who is living with Multiple sclerosis. When Naia decides to shelter a man who escaped captivity with her long-missing brother, she gets caught up in a diabolical mystery.

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Sidibe has teamed with writers Asabi Lee and Paul Hart-Wilden (Wolf Town) who penned the script, while Effie T. Brown (Dear White People) and Wellington Love (The United States vs. Billie Holiday) are producing on behalf of Gamechanger Films, according to the report. Production is set to begin this fall in the Pacific Northwest.

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Gabourey Sidibe / Getty

“I’m super excited to work with Gamechanger on my first feature!” said Sidibe. “This project is a true stand-out and the character of ‘Naia’ is a Bad Ass! Effie and Wellington are powerhouse visionaries and I’m so excited to be able to work with them to create this gripping thriller with complex characters.”

Gamechanger Films is dedicated to highlighting projects by and about women, people of color, LGBTQ+, and people with disabilities.

Stories like Pale Horse are long overdue in the entertainment industry and Gamechanger is dedicated to financing and producing them: entertaining films that offer diversity in story-telling, characters, and filmmakers,” said Brown. “In addition to our development and producing commitments, we plan to demystify the process of production through our social and partnership channels, pulling back the curtain on what it really takes to create a film.  We want people of all communities to feel included in and empowered by this process.”

“I have known Gabourey for some time,” the producer added, “and am always impressed with her skills as a storyteller, both as an actor or author. She will be an incredible force behind Pale Horse.”

Oscar-nominated Sidibe is best known for her acclaimed performance in Lee DanielsPrecious. She has since starred in several TV shows and films including American Horror Story, The Big C, Empire, Antebellum and Difficult People. She also penned the memoir “This Is Just My Face: Try Not to Stare.”

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Sidibe recently teamed with the Child Mind Institute for the new Getting Better Together campaign that aims to help kids who are struggling to ask for help for their issues.

“When I was around 19 or 20, I was diagnosed with depression and anxiety and an eating disorder,” Sidibe said in a video interview announcing the campaign (see clip above). “I remember having almost no one, really, to turn to. I couldn’t talk about it with my parents, or my friends or my friend’s parents. Everyone would tell me I was too young, too young to feel sad all the time or too young to feel stressed out.”

“Everyone around me seemed to be trying to convince me that I wasn’t feeling what I was feeling,” she continued. “Luckily enough, my own voice saying that something was wrong was louder.”

“I found my own ability to save myself. I know that a lot of people don’t have that ability or don’t even see it as an option, which is really why the Getting Better Together initiative from the Child Mind Institute is so important,” she added. “If you or a young person you know is struggling, please go to ChildMind.org for resources and help.”

Founding president of Child Mind Institute, Dr. Harold S. Koplewicz, said teaming with influencers like Sidibe will “offer hope, encouragement and inspiration” to “children who are struggling to seek help.”

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