Oscar Winner Matthew A. Cherry’s Debut Feature ‘Tut’ in the Works at Sony Pictures Animation (EXCLUSIVE)

Sony Pictures Animation has plucked the first feature film from Academy Award winner Matthew Cherry, Variety has learned exclusively.

After winning the Oscar for his acclaimed short “Hair Love,” Cherry is at work on the tentatively-titled “Tut,”  an afro-futuristic, coming-of-age story of the boy king Tutankhamun.

Based on an original idea from Cherry and Monica A. Young, the film will take audiences on a journey through Ancient Egypt and celebrate a culture that introduced the world to countless modern conventions and technologies.

Cherry said he was “beyond excited to explore the magical world of ancient Egypt through the eyes of its youngest ruler, King Tut. I’ve always wanted to dive deeper into the legend of the boy king and we can’t think of better partners to embark upon this journey with than Kristine Belson, Karen Toliver and the great people at Sony Pictures Animation.”

SPA president Kristine Belson called Cherry “one of today’s most exceptional creative voices. We had the privilege of collaborating with him on his first animated short, which has since evolved into his first animated series – and we’re so proud to team up again on his first animated feature, ‘Tut.’ Matthew has a bold and modern take on this story rarely told, filled with magic, music, and powerful themes – and we’re thrilled that we get to go on this adventure together.”

Cherry was recently announced as showrunner for “Young Love,” an adapted series based on “Hair Love” that SPA is producing for HBO Max. “Tut” marks the third collaboration between Cherry and Sony Animation’s EVP of creative, Karen Rupert Toliver, who also earned an Oscar on “Hair Love.”

Cherry is repped by ICM Partners, Blue Key Management and The Law Offices of R. Vaughn Gill.

Up next for SPA is Phil Lord and Christopher Miller’s “Connected,’ and the studio’s first-ever animated musical “Vivo,” featuring original songs by Lin-Manuel Miranda.

Cherry began his entertainment career in 2007, after playing wide receiver in the National Football League. He worked as a production assistant on more than 40 commercials, and then earned his first directorial credit in 2008 on a music video featuring R&B artist Terry Dexter. He went on to direct more than 20 music videos for a wide variety of artists, including Michelle Williams featuring Beyoncé & Kelly Rowland, Snoop Dogg, Chloe x Halle, and many more. His first feature film, “The Last Fall,” debuted at the South by Southwest (SXSW) Film Festival in 2012.

His follow-up feature, the innovative “9 Rides,” which was shot entirely with an iPhone 6s, premiered at SXSW in 2016. Cherry’s additional television credits include directing episodes of “Black-ish,” “Mixed-ish,” “The Unicorn,” “Saved by the Bell” and “The Last O.G.”

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