Blue Ant Studios strikes first-look deal with Emmy winner Lisa Cortes

The Blue Ant Media production arm is already in collaboration with Cortes and her banner Cortes Filmworks on scripted and unscripted projects.

Blue Ant Studios has struck a first-look deal with Emmy Award winner and Academy Award-nominated producer and director Lisa Cortés (pictured) and her New York-based company Cortés Filmworks.

Under the deal, Cortés will work with the Blue Ant Media production arm to develop and produce new scripted and unscripted documentary, music, history and biography, and narrative properties.

Her credits include executive producer on the two-time Oscar-winning 2009 feature Precious; producer on the 2019 Emmy-winning HBO documentary The Apollo; and co-director on Amazon Studios’ Emmy-winning 2020 documentary All In: The Fight For Democracy.

Several collaborative Cortés and Blue Ant projects are already underway, including the development of a docuseries based on Clover Hope’s book The Motherlode: The 100+ Women Who Made Hip-Hop, which also draws, in part, on Cortés’ early career as a Def Jam Recordings and Rush Artist Management music executive as well as her tenure as VP of Artist & Repertoire at Mercury Records and Loose Cannon label founder.

Also on tap is the scripted action-drama series No Retreat, about Black and Indigenous women soldiers in Europe during the Second World War, and Little Apple, a Riley S. Wilson sci-fi/dramedy about a little girl in Harlem, New York who happens to be a superhero.

“Throughout my career, I have been passionate about telling complex, powerful stories from new perspectives,” said Cortés in a statement. “Cortés Filmworks is committed to inclusivity, and to elevating talent often overlooked by the mainstream. This collaboration with a company leading in dynamic, impactful genre-spanning content is exciting, and I look forward to developing a diverse slate of scripted and unscripted projects with the Blue Ant team.”

Laura Michalchyshyn, chief creative officer and co-president, Blue Ant Studios, said the company is honoured to collaborate with Cortés “to bring culturally relevant and talent-driven projects to life.”

“Lisa is a creative powerhouse who has an incredible eye for vibrant, visionary stories that are of our time,” added Michalchyshyn. “She brings curiosity and a wonderful range of talent to her projects. The impact of her work is inspiring.”

Cortés’ upcoming directing credits independent of the Blue Ant Studios deal include the documentaries Little Richard: I Am Everything and The Empire Of Ebony, about Ebony and Jet magazines.

Blue Ant Studios projects include the docuseries The Kids in the Hall: Comedy Punks, which will be released worldwide on Prime Video on May 20, Canada’s Drag Race, produced with Saloon Media for Crave, and Epstein’s Shadow: Ghislaine Maxwell for Peacock.

Cortés is represented by Lowell Shapiro and Mike Dill of Black Box Management and Denise J. Brown.

Blue Ant Studios has offices in Los Angeles, New York and Toronto and is represented by United Talent Agency (UTA).

Photo by Paul Morejón