On Sunday, June 2, IFC Center’s third annual Split Screens Festival continued with a Season 4 premiere screening of OWN’s Queen Sugar, executive produced by Ava DuVernay, Oprah Winfrey, Paul James and Anthony Sparks, who also serves as a showrunner. Following the Season 4 premiere episode screening, actors Dawn-Lyen Gardner, Kofi Siriboe and Rutina Wesley, showrunner and episode writer Anthony Sparks and producing director and episode director Cheryl Dunye discussed the series with the Festival’s co-creative director, Matt Zoller Seitz.
Following, NBC’s The Good Place actor William Jackson Harper and Festival co-creative director Melanie McFarland had a close-up conversation about the beloved series following a screening of the Season 4 finale episode. During the panel, William and Melanie touched on how this comedy series, centered on questions of ethics and philosophy, has served as a source of encouragement for William through the current political landscape: “Playing Chidi has absolutely played into how I move through the world just because I feel like the response from the audience to something that’s so optimistic but snarky at the same time, it’s sort of shifted the way I feel about people. You know, we’re living in kind of a trash time. It’s nice that people are latching onto a bunch of people caring for each other, looking out for each other and doing the best they can. And the fact that that resonates so strongly is really encouraging.”
CBS All Access’ The Twilight Zone actress Sanaa Lathan and screenwriter Selwyn Seyfu Hinds sat down with Festival co-creative director Melanie McFarland following a screening of the stunning black-and-white episode of the series, “Replay” in the afternoon on Sunday. During their discussion, Selwyn spoke about working on the series with executive producer Jordan Peele: “I knew sort of structurally what I wanted to do. Jordan helped me with the how.”
Next up on Sunday, June 2, Festival attendees, including actor Keegan-Michael Key, enjoyed an exclusive sneak preview screening of the Season 1 finale episode of Cinemax’s fan favorite series, Warrior. Following the screening, Bruce Lee’s daughter and series executive producer Shannon Lee and series creator and executive producer Jonathan Tropper chatted with Festival co-creative director Matt Zoller Seitz about the gritty, action-packed crime drama. Lee said: “The thing that I love about this show is that it holds his [my father] energy. He doesn’t have to be in it for it to hold the energy of Bruce Lee and to bring that across. Yes, he came up with the nugget of the idea but in order for the show to be on the screen and you to watch it, so many other people had to be involved in a huge way, and Jonathan is key among them in terms of creating the world. But also the fact that we all held to the energy of it and really had so much care for what it meant to have Bruce Lee’s name be on a show and I’m really grateful for that. He wrote other treatments, just saying.”
The evening closed with a live screening of AMC’s “Fear the Walking Dead” season five premiere, and cast members Alycia Debnam Carey, Colman Domingo, Jenna Elfman, Austin Amelio and Danay Garcia, and Scott M. Gimple, Executive Producer of the series and Chief Content Officer of The Walking Dead Universe joined Matt Zoller Seitz to break down the premiere episode and what is to come this season. Gimple teased: “I will say, there is an exciting animal companion coming up this season and the person that is their companion thinks that this animal is going to be a star.”