Creative and production studio Sweet Rickey has signed director Zanah Thirus for U.S. representation spanning film, branded content, documentary and narrative projects. This marks her first career production company representation.
A producer, writer, and director from Chicago, Thirus back in 2020 was named one of Diversity in Cannes’ Top 10 Filmmakers of the Decade. An independent film movement promoting inclusion at the Cannes Film Festival, Diversity in Cannes commemorated its 10th anniversary by selecting a Top 10 from 1,500 creatives who submitted short form content to its Cannes Short Film Showcase over the years. The Top 10 Filmmakers of the Decade were recognized for their ability to educate, entertain and help shift the narrative of underrepresented populations around the world.
Thirus, who continues to maintain her Zanah Thirus Productions, is focused on merging arts and activism through documentary and narrative storytelling. Recently Thirus’ documentary, Unlearning Sex, won Best Human Rights Film at the Toronto International Women’s Film Festival and The Best Short Documentary Award at The New York Inspirational Film Festival. Her documentary Black Feminist won Best Documentary at Coal City Film Festival (2021) in Nigeria, and the Jury Award for Best U.S. Documentary at the International Black & Diversity Film Festival (2021).
This year, Thirus branched into comedic storytelling with her romantic comedy short The Love You Want Exists, which is premiering at the Academy Award-qualifying festival, Bronze Lens.
The female-owned Sweet Rickey is slated to executive produce Thirus’ next short film, New Santa. The comedic short is set in the North Pole during a diversity, equity and inclusion overhaul, and a Black woman is appointed to the position of Santa Claus. The film is set to film in Atlanta in February 2022.
“More than ever, the world needs to laugh right now. As a director, activism centered storytelling is my niche, but who says that social justice has to be boring, traumatic, or stale? New Santa is my way of turning one of the most capitalist centered superficial holidays into a learning lesson on the true meaning of equity,” stated Thirus. “I feel that this film is relatable to many people who celebrate Christmas, and will start much needed discussions on what it means to ‘Give Back.’
Sweet Rickey principal/executive producer Vanessa Lonborg said, “We are huge fans of Zanah and are so excited about our collaboration. Her mind shines as brightly as her passion for humanity in the work she does. It’s as stand-out and well rounded as she is with fresh perspective and honesty. Zanah’s effervescent spirit ignites her storytelling, whether she’s on screen or behind the camera. So much to look forward to!”