Sundance spotlight: Babs Olusanmokun featured in ‘Mother of George’

Babs Olusanmokun – a familiar face from television – makes his Sundance debut in award-winning “Mother of George.”

Actor Babs Olusanmokun, who is best known to American audiences for his numerous appearances on prime time TV shows including “Law & Order,” “The Unit” and “Blue Bloods” has made his film debut at Sundance in the dramatic feature Mother of George.”

Described by New York Times’ Manohla Dargis as “visually splendid,” the film was picked up by indie film company Oscilloscope for U.S. theatrical distribution and won the Cinematography Award: U.S. Dramatic during the festival’s Closing Night ceremony on Saturday.

The handsome chisel-faced actor was born in the sprawling city of Lagos, raised in Paris and Brazil, and arrived in New York alone as a teenager. He worked as a bouncer in hot spots like Joe’s Pub while studying acting.

Often told he looks like the great Miles Davis, he played the menacing commander in a 2011 critically-acclaimed production (Helen Hayes Award-Best Play) of Lynn Nottage’s Pulitzer Prize winner “Ruined” at Arena Stage in Washington D.C.

In “Mother of George,” set in New York’s bustling Nigerian immigrant community, he plays a peace-maker between two brothers at odds with one another over traditional versus American concepts of marriage. He previously worked with the film’s director, Andrew Dosunmu, in “Restless City.”

“There’s some fantastic talent out of Africa and the African diaspora, and I’d love to help tell those stories,” he says. “Andrew, who is Nigerian-Brooklynite, is without a doubt a visionary filmmaker. Not just an African visionary filmmaker but a visionary filmmaker,  period.” The actor returns to the stage this spring in “In a Year with 13 Moons,” a stage adaptation of the eponymous film by Rainer Werner Fassbinder, at the Yale Repertory Theater.

PARTING SHOT: The actor is a black belt in Brazilian Jiujistu and has won numerous Pan American competitions, earning a gold, three silver and a bronze medal from 2005-2010.  “I would love to show that physicality on screen.”