Little Brother by Spencer Mandel & Dikega Hadnot
Perón “Dikega” Hadnot (Director/Story)
Born in South LA to a Liberian mother and an African-American father, Dikega’s teacher mother arranged a scholarship for her precocious son to attend Oakwood School, a school whose curriculum balances academics with the arts. Meeting Spencer in the 1st grade, the two were regular collaborators on both drama and film/video projects in their 12 years at Oakwood, a friendship that took them on a 2-week road trip to South Dakota (into towns that had never seen a black kid) and an archaeological dig at a Roman fort in Northern England.
In 2005, Dikega was accepted to Johns Hopkins University, turning down a full ride to USC to take part in Hopkins’ emerging film theory and production program. After graduating in 2009, he gained valuable field experience as an assistant to Terrence Malick and “Chivo” Lubezki on both Malick’s Tree of Life and To The Wonder. Taking a liking to the young graduate, Malick allowed Dikega to direct a scene of To The Wonder on his own, on location with Olga Kurylenko in Oklahoma.
Following Malick’s advice to pursue his own path as a filmmaker, Dikega returned to LA to produce music videos for Interscope Records, with such clients as Iggy Azalea and Azalea Banks. (In his spare time he’s a musician himself; his former hip-hop project Maya Angeles got supportive airplay on KCRW). He now runs his own production company, Latebloom Entertainment, which has created content for brands such as Toyota and Puma. In 2016, he reunited with Spencer to form their writing/directing partnership,Gonzo Griot, which is repped by Flashpoint Entertainment, Original Artists, and Ziffren Brittenham LLP. The director of the duo, Dikega will helm the shooting of Little Brother.
Spencer William Mandel (Writer)
A lone creative from a family of doctors (mom, dad, grandpa, uncle and sister), Spencer could read by age two and completed a book of poetry in the second grade. Sharing a love of world culture with his childhood friend Dikega, he spent high school summers volunteering in Tanzania, India, and Northern England. Having received a bass guitar as a Bar Mitzvah gift, his passion for the instrument compelled him to form a rock band in Providence, Rhode Island after starting college at Brown University in 2005.
At Brown, Spencer majored in International Relations with Spanish as his foreign language. He studied abroad in 2007 as part of the Consortium for Advanced Studies in Barcelona, where he spent his nights drinking absinthe in Hemingway’s former haunt and at rambunctious village festivals in the Catalan countryside. After graduation, Spencer’s college band evolved into Incan Abraham, an LA-based indie rock act that completed two national tours and a full-length album, with acclaim from Pitchfork, Spin, and Consequence of Sound.
Alongside his music projects, Spencer honed his writing craft as a geopolitical and music journalist (WhoWhatWhy, Guernica, Rogue), before meeting his lit agent at a funeral in 2013. He has written 4 feature scripts, 3 TV drama pilots with Dikega, and a self-produced short, Gringo (2017), starring Audrey Ellis Fox and Jamie Landau.
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