Amazon Original Movies, announced in January, was formed to produce and acquire original movies for theatrical release as well as distribution to its Amazon Prime members.

Amazon Studios has announced that Spike Lee’s next major film (working title, Chi-Raq) is the first-ever Amazon Original Movie produced.

The musical comedy is set in Englewood, a neighborhood on the south side of Chicago. It was filmed on location from June 1 through to July 9, during which time, Lee notes in a recent Instagram post, the city saw 331 people shot and wounded and 69 murdered.

Lee added, “I’m honored to be part of the film that will launch Amazon Studios and to tell a story that is so important”. Please don’t be fooled by the title of Chi-Raq, this new Spike Lee joint will be something very special. “We have assembled a stellar cast”. Lee will write along with Kevin Willmott and direct; and the film will feature some big Hollywood names, including Nick Cannon, Wesley Snipes, Angela Bassett, John Cusack, and Samuel L. Jackson.

Lee has not made any indication of a desire to change the title, which is identified as a slang term to compare the violence of the city to the war in Iraq.

“It would be impossible to find a better filmmaker with whom to launch our studio”.

Chi-Raq“, which wrapped shooting last week in Chicago, was originally planned for a world premiere at the 2016 Cannes Film Festival, if accepted, but Lee and Amazon are so high on the project that they’re now hoping for a spot in this year’s awards race, insiders say.