Kino Lorber Acquires North American Rights to Aristotle Torres’ SXSW Prizewinner 'Story Ave', Starring Luis Guzmán & Asante Blackk

By Kino Lorber | May 25, 2023
Kino Lorber Acquires North American Rights to Aristotle Torres’ SXSW Prizewinner 'Story Ave', Starring Luis Guzmán & Asante Blackk
“A lovely, heartfelt movie that is also gritty and deep and evocative, with outstanding performances that ground the story in every possible way.” 
– Mae Abdulbaki, Screen Rant
“In a quiet and compassionate supporting performance, Luis Guzmán proves a beacon for a young graffiti artist – and for this debut feature from Aristotle Torres.” 
– Lisa Kennedy, Variety
“Gifted director of photography Eric Branco (Clemency) creat[es] arresting imagery out of the many Bronx locations.” 
– Jordan Mintzer, The Hollywood Reporter
Kino Lorber has acquired North American rights to SXSW prize winner Story Ave, starring Luis Guzmán and Asante Blackk and directed and co-written by debut filmmaker Aristotle Torres. Shot on location in the Bronx, the film won a Special Jury Award for Cinematography at SXSW for the work of DP Eric Branco (The Forty-Year-Old Version, Clemency). Kino Lorber will release Story Ave theatrically in October, followed by a digital and home video release on all major platforms.
Story Ave marks the feature debut of filmmaker Aristotle Torres, who built a career as a director of music videos and creative content for artists including J. Cole, NAS, Kanye West, The Roots, Ludacris, 2 Chainz, Busta Rhymes, and more. He was nominated for an MTV Music Video Award in 2012 for Fabolous’s “You Be Killin Em.” Torres hails from the Bronx, where Story Ave takes place, and is represented by Lighthouse Management & Media, WME, and Del, Shaw, Moonves, Tanaka, Finkelstein, Lezcano, Bobb, & Dang. 
Luis Guzmán is among his generation’s most beloved actors, known for his many unforgettable roles in films and television series including Boogie Nights, Traffic, Narcos, and most recently Netflix’s Wednesday. In Story Ave, which he also executive produced, Guzmán stars alongside emerging young actor Asante Blackk, who made his debut in an Emmy-nominated performance as Exonerated Five member Kevin Richardson in Ava DuVernay’s When They See Us and can also be seen in This is Us, Landscape with Invisible Hand, and the upcoming Pieces of Us. Story Ave features a supporting cast of rising talent including Melvin Gregg (Snowfall, High Flying Bird), Alex R. Hibbert (Moonlight, The Chi), and Coral Peña (For All Mankind). 
Blackk stars as South Bronx teen and gifted visual artist Kadir, who loses his way following the death of his younger brother. Overcome with grief and struggling with school and family, he escapes into the creative yet dangerous world of graffiti gangs. To prove himself and join his neighborhood’s ruling gang, Kadir attempts to rob MTA conductor Luis (Guzmán) on the Story Ave subway platform, only to be caught off guard when Luis agrees to give Kadir the cash if he’ll sit down to a meal with him. Following their conversation and the delicate friendship that grows out of it, Kadir sees for the first time how his artistic talent could lead to a better life.
The deal for Story Ave was brokered by Kino Lorber Senior Vice President Wendy Lidell with WME Independent on behalf of the filmmakers. 
Story Ave is a New York story unlike any we’ve seen before,” said Wendy Lidell, SVP of Theatrical Distribution and Acquisitions for Kino Lorber. “Aristotle Torres shines an authentic light on the South Bronx, its beauty never eclipsed by its hardships, and offers audiences the true gift of a complex and worthy role for the immensely talented Luis Guzmán.”
"I am incredibly honored that my first film has been acquired by Kino Lorber,” said writer/director Aristotle Torres. “This partnership with such a renowned distributor is a dream come true, and I am grateful for their recognition of my work. The team and I invested our hearts and souls into this project, and I am thrilled to see it find a home with such a prestigious brand. I am excited to collaborate with Kino Lorber to bring my film to audiences on a wider scale and share the unique vision we've created. This is just the beginning of an exciting journey, and I can't wait to continue creating meaningful stories that resonate with audiences everywhere.”

Story Ave is a FirstGen Content and Foxxhole Entertainment Production, in association with Mero Mero Production, The Space Program, and Dark Rabbit Productions. Story Ave is produced by Lizzie Shapiro, Datari Turner, Jamie Foxx, and Aristotle Torres and executive produced by Michael D’Alto, Randal Sandler, Claude Amadeo, and Chris Triana for FirstGen Content, Martin Cabrera and Robert Aguilar for Mero Mero, Luis Guzmán and Cemí Guzmán for Dark Rabbit, Gus Deardoff for The Space Program, and Jan McAdoo.