[image-1] Charles Burnett, the director of Killer of Sheep and To Sleep with Anger, is working with Amazon Productions to direct Steal Away, a film following the story of Robert Smalls and his journey from escaping slavery for him and his family.

Smalls served five terms as a South Carolina state representative after escaping slavery during the Civil War. Smalls famously hijacked the Confederate ship CSS Planter and commandeered the stolen vessel to freedom. He spent the rest of the war speaking on behalf of African Americans and serving with the Union Armed Forces. 

[image-2] After the war, Smalls returned to his home in Beaufort, SC, where he served as an SC representative in the House of Congress during the Reconstruction Era. During his time in office, he authored the legislation for South Carolina to have the first free public school system in the US and founded the Republican Party of South Carolina.

Burnett is best known for his films Killer of Sheep and To Sleep with Anger, which were added to the Library of Congress’ National Film Registry; he received the Governor’s Award in 2018 for his contributions to American film and culture.

Steal Away wouldn’t be Burnett’s first time dealing with a strong subject. In 1999, Burnett released his straight-to-television film, Selma, Lord, Selma, on ABC, which follows an 11-year old girl as she becomes inspired by Martin Luther King, Jr. and joins the Civil Rights activists at the March in Selma, AL.

Burnett’s films tend to focus on African-American leads portraying emotionally rich characters struggling with maturity and self-identity. He has worked with other famous  actors and figures such as Danny Glover, Ice Cube, and Michael Boatman.

Burnett will be joined by Chotty Chubb and George Plamondon as producers, with Andy Froemke to write the script.