Disney has a movie in the works about a white man who buys land in Sudan so that his daughter can be a princess. Interesting. Sounds cool.

In fact, The Princess of North Sudan is based on a true story. In real life, a farmer from Virginia named Jeremiah Heaton traveled through the desert to an unclaimed area bordering Egypt and Sudan, where he planted a flag and the seed for his daughter Emily’s future imaginary kingdom.

By the time Emily turned seven last year (on June 16), her dad had a literal flag up in North Sudan and declared her a (white Nubian) princess. A cool thing to do if you have the advantage of taking over some far away land. According to The Hollywood Reporter:

The studio is focusing on the relationship between the father and daughter set against a backdrop of a fantastical adventure.

Morgan Spurlock (Super Size Me) is directing the Disney version of this story, and Black List writer Stephany Folsom is writing the script. But of course, there’s more. This fairytale sounds awfully close to all those times in history when white people took over land for various reasons, so naturally some people are upset.


Folsom has responded to internet critics:

Guess we should be glad Heaton didn’t have to kill off an entire race to claim this land. According to Deadline, his family essentially forced him to do some good with his purchase:

At the special request of his children, Heaton is currently working to establish positive relationships with neighboring nations of Sudan and Egypt by converting his newfound sovereignty into an ecologically and agriculturally sustainable nation...


Oh good—

...where his family can live together and reign as the royal family.

Oh. That was as of November 2014. Heaton has since started crowdfunding to help get his kingdom running, as Bustle reports:

So far, the international community has not formally recognized this new “country” or Heaton’s claim that he is its king (making his daughter therefore a princess); however, no one has kicked him out yet, either. And so he is moving ahead with new plans for the “kingdom”: Specifically, turning 800 square miles of arid desert land into something that can support agriculture.


Surely, The Princess of North Sudan will be good family fun.

Image via Walt Disney Pictures

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