[01/14/05 - 12:00 AM]
Black Starz! Presents World Premiere of 'Unstoppable: A Conversation with Melvin Van Peebles, Gordon Parks and Ossie Davis'

[via press release from Starz]

Black STARZ! Presents World Premiere of 'UNSTOPPABLE: A Conversation with Melvin Van Peebles, Gordon Parks and Ossie Davis'

An Original Production Highlighting the Extraordinary Careers of Three African American Legends in Cinema

Debuting 8 p.m. February 13, 2005 Exclusively on Black STARZ!

UNIVERSAL CITY, Calif., Jan. 14 (TCA Tour) -- Black STARZ! announced today the world premiere of its original documentary "UNSTOPPABLE: A Conversation with Gordon Parks, Melvin Van Peebles and Ossie Davis" for 8 p.m., Sunday, February 13, 2005. The documentary presents an intimate portrait of three highly influential men of African American cinema, Melvin Van Peebles, Gordon Parks and Ossie Davis, who come together for the first time on screen to discuss their extraordinary careers.

"UNSTOPPABLE: A Conversation with Melvin Van Peebles, Gordon Parks and Ossie Davis" provides a candid and revealing look at the first African Americans to direct Hollywood features -- Melvin Van Peebles ("Sweet Sweetbacks' Baadasssss Song," "Classified X"), Gordon Parks ("The Learning Tree," "Shaft") and Ossie Davis ("Cotton Comes to Harlem"). Van Peebles, Parks and Davis discuss a myriad of issues surrounding their distinguished careers, including their struggles and triumphs. Also featured in the special are testimonials from actor/writer/director Reginald Hudlin, director Julie Dash, actress/director Ruby Dee, writer/filmmaker Nelson George, and actor/director Mario Van Peebles who comment on the trio's influence on their careers, our culture and society. Warrington Hudlin ("House Party," "Boomerang," "Bebe Kids"), producer and president of the Black Filmmaker Foundation moderates the conversation.

"These three men are revered as legends in the history of African American cinema," said Che Che Mata, senior vice president, creative services. "Their remarkable careers have influenced events in American and film history. Melvin Van Peebles, Gordon Parks and Ossie Davis paved the way for today's generation of filmmakers. We are pleased to provide this unique platform for them to tell their story."

Melvin Van Peebles made his feature film debut in 1967 as the director, writer and composer of "The Story of a Three Day Pass." In 1971, he starred in, wrote, produced directed, financed and distributed the ground-breaking, "Sweet Sweetback's Baadasssss Song," one of the highest-grossing independent films at the time. The film ushered in a new era of Black independent filmmaking and many proclaimed Van Peebles the godfather of African American cinema. His son Mario re-creates that achievement in the recently released "Baadasssss!," which examines the trials Melvin endured while writing, directing and starring in "Sweetback."

His other directing credits include "The Watermelon Man" (1970) and "Don't Play Us Cheap" (1973). In addition, he wrote the Tony Award(R) nominated Broadway musical "Ain't Supposed to Die a Natural Death," and "Classified X." In 1995, his son, actor/director Mario Van Peebles directed his screenplay "Panther."

Gordon Parks, an acclaimed photographer for Life magazine turned to directing films in 1969. When he directed, wrote and composed the score for "The Learning Tree," he became the first African American director to helm a major studio film. His next film "Shaft" (1971) starring Richard Roundtree was a huge box office success and would signal the beginning of the blaxploitation genre. Other film credits include the sequel "Shaft's Big Score" (1972), "The Super Cops" (1974) and "Leadbelly" (1976). Parks is the author of a number of books and was a founder of Essence magazine.

Ossie Davis, a highly regarded performer, has distinguished himself as an actor, director, producer, writer and historian. He first appeared on screen in 1950 in "No Way Out" with Sidney Poitier and Ruby Dee who became his wife. He directed and co-wrote "Cotton Comes to Harlem" (1970). Other directing credits include "Black Girl" (1972), "Gordon's War" (1973) and "Countdown at Kusini" (1976). His career has spanned 65 years and 20 films including, "Grumpy Old Men," "Do the Right Thing," "Miss Evers' Boys" and "Malcolm X" to name a few.

"UNSTOPPABLE: A Conversation with Melvin Van Peebles, Gordon Parks and Ossie Davis" is directed by John Lewis and produced by John Lewis and Warrington Hudlin. It will premiere on Black STARZ! as part of the channel's "The Heritage" programming package.

Black STARZ! is still the only movie channel created exclusively to meet the unique entertainment choices of the African American community. Black STARZ! has produced several original film projects, most recently "The Last of the Mississippi Jukes," and the Peabody Award winning "A Huey P. Newton Story" starring Roger Guenveur Smith, directed by Spike Lee, also nominated for two NAACP Image Awards. Other productions include the critically acclaimed "Funny Valentines" (in association with Studio USA Pictures and STARZ! Pictures), starring Alfre Woodard, Loretta Devine and CCH Pounder, and original documentaries "Scandalize My Name: Stories from the Blacklist," hosted by actor Morgan Freeman and the highly regarded "Classified X" by the godfather of contemporary African American cinema, Melvin Van Peebles.

Starz Entertainment Group LLC (SEG) is the largest provider of premium movie services in the United States with approximately 167 million pay units. SEG offerings include the Starz Super Pak(R), with up to 13 digital movie channels and more than 750 movies per month, Starz On Demand(R), the only on-demand pay TV subscription service available on the cable and satellite platforms, and its broadband equivalent, STARZ! Ticket(SM). SEG also offers a suite of advanced video offerings, including STARZ! HD(SM), Encore HD(SM), and Starz On Demand HD(SM). Starz Entertainment Group is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Liberty Media Corporation (NYSE: L, LMCb), http://www.starz.com.

SOURCE Starz Entertainment Group LLC
Web Site: http://www.starz.com

  [january 2005]  

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