John Leguizamo is making his feature directorial debut with Critical Thinking, which Vertical Entertainment recently acquired the North American rights to it as well.
Critical Thinking tells the true story of five LatinX and Black teenagers. They all attended Miami Jackson Senior High School in 1998. The school is located in one of the toughest neighborhoods in Miami, however that didn’t stop these students from achieving greatness. They fought their way into the National Chess Championship under the guidance of their unconventional but inspirational teacher.
“In today’s fractured society with so many disenfranchised young adults, in our country and around the world, this is a story which can and will inspire all of us to do better, keep focused and stay positive,” said Leguizamo. “With Critical Thinking we wanted to create a universal message of hope and spread this message to the world.”
Leguizamo didn’t just direct the film he is also starring in it alongside Michael Kenneth Williams and Rachel Bay Jones. Dito Montiel wrote the script and Leguizamo produced the picture. Scott Rosenfelt and Jason Mandl also produced the film. Harvey R. Chaplin, Carla Berkowitz and Emilio Estefan Jr. executive produced the project.
Peter Jarowey and Josh Spector at Vertical with the United Talent Agency Independent Film Group negotiated the deal.
“Given the challenges that many are facing right now, it gives the team at Vertical great pleasure to bring a story this inspiring to screens everywhere,” said Rich Goldberg, co-president of Vertical Entertainment. “It’s a story that celebrates young people who were brave enough to believe in themselves, and we hope audiences will walk away feeling the same.”