NBC has given a green signal to the drama titled Sovereign, from the Emmy winner Bird Runningwater and Ava DuVernay. The project, which is written by Sydney Freeland, previously worked in Drunktown’s Finest, and Shaz Bennett, previously worked in Bosch, from a story by DuVernay, marks the first Native American family drama being developed for the network television.
The show chronicles the lives, loves, and loyalties of a sprawling Indigenous family struggling to control the future of their tribe against outside forces and themselves.
The drama is being produced by DuVernay’s ARRAY Filmworks in association with Warner Bros. Television. Bennett and Freeland will be executively producing with DuVernay. ARRAY’s Sarah Bremner and Paul Garnes will be co-executively producing with Runningwater.
Through her Warner Bros. Television Group overall deal, DuVernay is currently executively producing the fifth season of Queen Sugar and Cherish the Day, her OWN/Warner Bros. T.V. drama series, as well as the upcoming NBC family social experiment reality series titled Home Sweet Home and the HBO Max, docuseries titled, One Perfect Shot, both from Warner Horizon Unscripted T.V.
NBC’s “Sovereign”: All About The Upcoming American Family Drama!
Separately from her WBTVG deal, DuVernay is executively producing the upcoming Netflix limited series titled Colin in Black & White, which is about the life of all-star athlete/activist named Colin Kaepernick. She previously helmed the pretty much acclaimed Netflix miniseries titled, When They See Us, feature Selma, and Oscar-nominated/Emmy-winning documentary 13th, among others.
Runningwater belongs to the Cheyenne and Mescalero Apache Tribal Nations and grew up on the Mescalero Apache Reservation in New Mexico. Since the year 1996, he has guided and mentored the global Indigenous film community by nurturing a new generation of filmmakers. Based in Los Angeles, California, Runningwater has supported more than 140 different Indigenous filmmakers through his work.
Freeland is an Emmy-nominated film and television writer and director and a member of the Navajo Nation. She grew up in Gallup, New Mexico. Her debut feature, Drunktown’s Finest, premiered at the 2014 Sundance Film Festival and went on to receive the Jury Prize at L.A. Outfest. She directed the digital series Her Story, which received an Emmy nomination in 2016 for Outstanding Short Form Comedy or Drama Series.
Her second feature, the Netflix original film Deidra and Laney Rob a Train, premiered at Sundance in 2017. Freeland’s additional T.V. directing credits include Grey’s Anatomy, P-Valley, Nancy Drew, and Fear the Walking Dead.