Ballerina Misty Copeland Previews ‘Flower,’ First Project for Her Life in Motion Productions (EXCLUSIVE)

World-renowned ballerina Misty Copeland will star in and produce “Flower,” a short film that tells a powerful story through dance and movement, with a mission to highlight “intergenerational equity” and bring critical attention to the housing crisis in the San Francisco Bay area.

The project marks the first independently produced endeavor from Life in Motion Productions, the company founded by Copeland and writer-producer Leyla Fayyaz.

“’Flower’ represents the evolution of all my work as a performer, storyteller and activist,” Copeland said in a statement announcing the project. “As someone whose family experienced the instability of not always having a safe place to call home as a child, the issues of homelessness and not having access to basic life needs have always been important to me.”

Copeland stars in the 28-minute activism short film — her first performance in over three years, since the COVID-19 pandemic and becoming a new mother — acting opposite newcomers Tunji Johnson and Christina Johnson.

Filmed on location in Oakland, Calif., “Flower” was directed by Lauren Finerman (“Ballet 422,” “Paper Birds”), with Ryan Carmody serving as director of photography. The film features original choreography from Alonzo King and the creative duo Rich+Tone, as well as music composed by Raphael Saadiq, including the original song “Here Now.” Nelson George (“A Ballerina’s Tale,” “Say Hey,” “Willie Mays”) — with whom Copeland conceived the idea for the project — serves as an executive producer.

“With ‘Flower,’ I hope to convey a feeling of belonging within one’s own community, to show the under-appreciated humanity that exists when it comes to people who experience housing insecurity,” Copeland added. “Oakland is just one of so many places bursting with creativity, yet fraught with obstacles. I want to tell stories of the human condition through music and dance in a way that can inspire people wherever they are.”

“Flower” is produced by Copeland and Fayyaz, with the project made possible in part by a grant from the Ford Foundation’s JustFilms, plus additional funding via privately sponsored donations and gifts from individuals, corporations and organizations.

“We are incredibly grateful for the support we received to realize Misty’s vision and for the belief in our project throughout the process,” said Fayyaz. “The experience of making this film, from raising funding all the way to post-production, not only challenged us but helped us evolve from content advisors to creators overseeing a fully realized production. Early reaction to the finished production confirms for us that there is a place in the market for this new form of hybrid dance film, telling stories about issues affecting so many.”

Copeland will preview the trailer before the public at the Hamptons International Film Festival on Saturday, Oct. 8. Watch a sneak preview in the video above.

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