Writer-director Minhal Baig shares coming-of-age stories from all walks of life, and this time, she’s returning home to Chicago.

Baig’s third feature, “We Grown Now,” centers on the housing project Cabrini-Green Homes in Chicagoin 1992. “We Grown Now” follows two young boys who are best friends and neighbors, with first-time actors Blake Cameron James and Gian Knight Ramirez playing respective characters Malik and Eric. Jurnee Smollett and Lil Rel Howery also star.

The official synopsis reads: “In 1992 Chicago, as Michael Jordan solidifies himself as a champion, a story of two young legends in their own right begins. As wide-eyed and imaginative best friends Malik and Eric traverse the city, looking to escape the mundaneness of school and the hardships of growing up in public housing, their unbreakable bond is challenged when tragedy shakes their community just as they are learning to fly.”

“We Grown Now” is Baig’s third film behind breakout sophomore feature “Hala.” She writes, directs, and produces “We Grown Now,” with actress Smollett serving as an executive producer. The IndieWire review praised actors James and Ramirez’s performances.

“We Grown Now” debuted at TIFF 2023 and won the TIFF Changemaker Award at last year’s festival. Oscar-nominated “American Fiction” won the People’s Choice Award at the festival, kicking off the film’s Academy Award campaign that landed nominations in the Best Original Screenplay, Best Picture, Best Actor for Jeffrey Wright, and Best Supporting Actor for Sterling K. Brown categories.

“American Fiction” is additionally nominated at the 2024 Spirit Awards, alongside “We Grown Now,” which is up for three awards at the 2024 festival including Best Picture. Films eligible for the Spirit Awards must have a budget of less than $30 million. “SNL” alum Aidy Bryant is hosting the 2024 ceremony that is set to take place February 25 in Los Angeles.

“We Grown Now” is released by Sony Picture Classics, with Baig and Joe Pirro producing. Executive producers include Jeff Skoll and Anikah McLaren for Participant, James Schamus for Symbolic Exchange, Carrie Holt de Lama, and actress Smollett.

“We Grown Now” premieres in New York, Los Angeles, and Chicago theaters April 19, followed by a national rollout May 10. Check out the trailer below.

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