EXCLUSIVE: Game Theory boards Reza Dahya’s Boxcutter

Dahya's feature film debut is described as a "love letter to Toronto" and includes an appearance from Drake and Rihanna music producer Boi-1da.

Toronto’s Game Theory Films has acquired Boxcutter, the feature debut from Reza Dahya, for Canadian distribution.

The film, which is expected to go into production next year, is directed by Dahya (pictured), best known as a radio personality on FLOW 93.5 FM, and written by Chris Cromie.

It is produced by Toronto-based prodco Scenario Media, with Dahya and Soko Negash serving as producers. Executive producers are Rodrigo Bascuñán and Darby Wheeler, who produced the docuseries Hip-Hop Evolution.

Boxcutter is described as a “love letter to Toronto” and takes place over the course of a single summer day. It follows an aspiring artist who needs to recover his stolen laptop and his music ahead of a life-changing meeting with music producer Boi-1da (Drake’s “Best I Ever Had,” Rihanna’s “Work”), who will appear as himself.

“We’re so honoured to come on board Boxcutter,” says Hilary Hart, director of acquisitions and distribution for Game Theory Films, in a statement. “Rez has a fresh and unique perspective and we’re proud to be boarding this project early to support Scenario Media in helping him see his vision through.”

Boxcutter is the only film to be selected for the second round of the Black, Indigenous and People of Colour Distribution Fund, which is run by Game Theory Films. The film will receive a $20,000 minimum guarantee.

The fund offers recoupable minimum guarantees, supplied by a group of companies that includes Woods Entertainment, JoBro Productions, Comweb Foundation and William F. White International, as well as in-kind benefits. The selected projects for the first round of the fund were Jerome Yoo’s Mongrels, Anna Fahr’s Valley of Exile and Alexander Lasheras’ The Beehive. Applications for round three will open in the fall.

“Boxcutter is a hip-hop film without hip-hop movie clichés. Well, most of them anyways,” said Dahya. “There are no life or death stakes. There are no sleazy label execs or shady record deals. There are no scenes where our hero spontaneously breaks into rhyme. There’s no moment where an impromptu beat is created and a musical revelation is made. In fact, there’s no music performance in the film at all. This is a hip-hop film that changes the definition of what a hip-hop film can be — and from a decidedly Toronto perspective. Boxcutter is about an artist choosing music over industry. It’s about learning that conquering your biggest fears starts with the smallest of steps.”