After crafting one of the most remarkable documentaries of the last few years with the Apichatpong Weerasethakul-backed, Sundance-winning, and Oscar-nominated Hale County This Morning, This Evening, director RaMell Ross is heading into new territory for his next feature.

Backed by MGM and Plan B, Ross will be moving into narrative fiction with an adaptation of Colson Whitehead’s acclaimed, Pulitzer Prize-winning 2019 novel The Nickel Boys. A few casting call notices tipped us off to the project, which goes inside the true story of abuses at the juvenile reformatory Dozier School for Boys in Flordia. With production set to take place in Louisiana, specifically New Orleans, Hammond, Ponchatoula and LaPlace, shooting will begin next month and last through December.

See the synopsis below and pick up the book here.

When Elwood Curtis, a black boy growing up in 1960s Tallahassee, is unfairly sentenced to a juvenile reformatory called the Nickel Academy, he finds himself trapped in a grotesque chamber of horrors. Elwood’s only salvation is his friendship with fellow “delinquent” Turner, which deepens despite Turner’s conviction that Elwood is hopelessly naive, that the world is crooked, and that the only way to survive is to scheme and avoid trouble. As life at the Academy becomes ever more perilous, the tension between Elwood’s ideals and Turner’s skepticism leads to a decision whose repercussions will echo down the decades.

Watch a fascinating conversation between Rossa and Time director Garrett Bradley below.

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