- The film, which had its world premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival revolves around two best friends and their hardships of growing up in public housing.
Sony Pictures Classics has acquired North American rights to Pakistani American filmmaker Minhal Baig’s “We Grown Now.” The film had its world premiere in the Centerpiece and Next Wave Selects section at this year’s Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF). Baig, who wrote, directed and produced the film received the TIFF Changemaker Award which explores issues relevant to young people and is focused on themes of social change and youth empowerment.
“We Grown Now,” is based in Chicago, Baig’s hometown, and revolves around “wide-eyed and imaginative best friends” Malik and Eric. In 1992, as “Michael Jordan solidifies himself as a champion,” the “two young leaders are looking to escape the mundaneness of school and the hardships of growing up in public housing,” the film’s synopsis says. “Their unbreakable bond is challenged when tragedy shakes their community just as they are learning to fly.” The film stars Blake Cameron James, Gian Knight Ramirez, S. Epatha Merkerson, Avery Holliday and Ora Jones, with Lil Rel Howery and Jurnee Smollett.
Baig told Deadline that she “could not be more delighted to have found a home” with Sony. Describing “We Grown Now” as “a film that captures the tender moments of childhood resilience and the power of human connection in the face of adversity,” she said the company “recognized the significance of our story’s themes of community and the importance of bringing such a film to theaters.”
The young filmmaker named a mentor along with Mira Nair and Geeta Malik, for this year’s 1497 Writers Lab, a Hollywood inclusion workshop for South Asian screenwriters. The trio will mentor a class of underrepresented South Asian screenwriters for its third edition. Founded by Adeel Ahmed, Kamran Khan, and Lipica Shah, the lab aims to support and lift talent of South Asian descent to reduce their underrepresentation in the U.S. film and TV industry, according to its website. Baig is returning after having also served as a mentor for last year’s lab, held virtually and in-person in New York.
Baig’s previous feature, “Hala,” about a Pakistani American Muslim teenager uncovering a secret about her family, premiered at the 2019 Sundance Film Festival and was released by Apple. She had an overall writing-producing deal in television with Amazon; is a 2022 Sundance Momentum Fellow and participated in the 2022 WGA Showrunner Training Program, according to her website. She was previously a story editor on Bojack Horseman and staff writer on Peabody-award winning half-hour comedy Ramy.
In 2017, she was chosen as a Directing Mentorship Fellow for Ryan Murphy’s HALF Foundation and Screenwriter to Watch by the Austin Film Festival. She also served as a film and media studies lecturer at Yale University and co-founded ISF’s Muslim Screenwriter’s Lab with The Black List and Extracurricular.