Justin Simien is turning his feted 2014 satirical dramedy Dear White People into a half-hour comedy series for Netflix. Simien is directing the series premiere and writing all 10 episodes of its first season, and it's entering production later this year before premiering on Netflix in 2017.
The original Dear White People — a sharp exploration of race and identity that took place within a fictional, largely white Ivy League school — was Simien's first feature film, and it won him a special jury prize at the 2014 Sundance Film Festival. Some of the movie's stars have since taken on larger, more prominent parts: Tessa Thompson played an important role in last year's Rocky reboot Creed, and Teyonah Parris starred in Spike Lee's Chi-Raq. Netflix's Dear White People will be based on the film, but it's unclear whether or not any of the movie's cast members will be involved.
"During the film's release, I had the pleasure to speak with hundreds of students and faculty... dealing with these very issues in real time," said Simien in a Netflix statement. "I'm so grateful to have this platform — not only to give a voice to those too often unheard in our culture, but to also tell great stories from new points of views... Working with Netflix is every bit as harmonious as I'd imagined it would be. Bringing this show to such a vibrant platform is an honor I don't take lightly."