Interview By Paul Salfen
GERARD BUSH & CHRISTOPHER RENZ – known as Bush + Renz – are a writer/director duo driven by their passion for telling powerful stories of the dis-enfranchised, marginalized, and underrepresented. Their primary objective is to amplify the visibility of a host of social justice and cause-based issues currently impacting society –including climate change, LGBTQ equality, women’s equality, voter suppression, mass incarceration, et al.
Their fierce genre-bending movie, ANTEBELLUM was #1 on Fandango for three weeks since its Premium Video On Demand release on September 18th. It was also the top grossing title over the first two weeks of its debut.
In it, stars Janelle Monae, as a modern-day author transported back into the 19th century as a slave in the Southern United States to come face-to-face with her ancestors and baits questions around fate. It boasts a huge cast including Jack Huston, Kiersey Clemons, Tongayi Chirisa, Gabourey Sidibe, Rob Aramayo, Lily Cowles and Jena Malone. The visceral feeling that the audience is left is the result of the unsettling nature of the genre, but its implications are felt beyond the credits. In addition to traditional horror elements, the film is indeed a psychological thriller showcasing the stark reality of being black in America.
Their next scripted project, RAPTURE, will also be distributed through Lionsgate after a highly competitive bidding process. The film offers an equally unvarnished view into these urgent times, following a family who is torn apart by warring beliefs and must come together to unravel the mystery around the sudden vanishing of the global population – before it’s too late.
Most recently announced, Bush + Renz are confirmed to develop a series for HBO Max, called INKWELL. They will be the creators and executive producers of the series. Inkwell will be produced under Bush + Renz’s production company, Gloaming Productions. Bush + Renz will also write and direct both the pilot and finale episodes. While the synopsis is under wraps, we can say that Inkwell follows a pod of uber affluent Black surfers that suddenly find themselves catapulted into a battle against a mysterious dark superpower consuming the country.
Bush + Renz first captured the imagination of pop culture with their viral police brutality PSA AGAINST THE WALL, starring Michael B. Jordan, Danny Glover, and Michael K. Williams, and the critically acclaimed visual E.P. 17 (loosely based on the murder of seventeen-year-old Trayvon Martin at the hand of a vigilante) for Jay-Z’s music entertainment platform Tidal. 17, which was produced by legendary activist and entertainer Harry Belafonte ––– went on to serve as the visual centerpiece for the 2017 Poor People’s Campaign initiative. Bush + Renz also wrote and directed the politically charged and highly acclaimed music short film, KILL JAY-Z, for the multi-Grammy nominated 4:44 project by superstar Jay-Z, as well as the short music film, THE GLASS HOUSE, produced in partnership with the social justice non-profit organization Sankofa – starring multi-Grammy award-winning R&B icon Maxwell and actress/activist Yomi Abiola.
Most recently, the pair were commissioned by Maxwell to create a visual meditation celebrating black beauty for his latest single, Shame, starring a host of the most in-demand black supermodels working in fashion today. Vogue Magazine called the piece, “A breathtaking, unapologetic celebration of black beauty.” Bush + Renz is also producing the documentary ALL DELIBERATE SPEED on the re-segregation of the U.S. Public School System.
The hallmark of Bush + Renz’s work is an unbending commitment to breathtaking visuals, working seamlessly in concert with ultra-rich, original multi-textured narratives.
Always in service to the story – Bush + Renz’s unwavering attention to detail has them counted among a new generation of the most talked-about filmmakers to enter the stage.