Veteran film and music video director Sanaa Hamri (Something New, Just Wright) has been tapped to direct MGM’s Taking Flight, an adaptation of the book Taking Flight: From War Orphan to Star Ballerina by Michaela DePrince and her mother, Elaine DePrince.
The book follows Michaela’s 20-year journey from being an orphan in war-torn Sierra Leone to being a world-renowned ballerina. DePrince was inspired to pursue ballet after finding a picture of a ballerina as a little girl. After moving to the United States, DePrince began training and competing in competitions to hone her skills. Before long, she was awarded a scholarship to study at the American Ballet Theatre’s Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis School of Ballet and featured in the 2011 documentary, First Position, that follows her and five other dancers as they compete at the Youth America Grand Prix.
Last year DePrince joined the Dutch National Ballet as an éleve. She is the only dancer of African origin in the Dutch National Ballet.
Hamri came to promenince in the early 2000s directing videos for the likes of Jay Z (“Song Cry”), Mariah Carey (“Thank God I Found You”), Prince (“Call My Name”) and others before seguing into movies with her 2005 feature film directorial debut, Something New, starring Sanaa Lathan. Hamri also directed the hit film Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants 2, and the Common and Queen Latifah rom-com, Just Wright.
More recently Hamri has served as an executive producer on Fox’s hit drama, “Empire,” and assumed the director’s chair for a number of episodes of the series.