IN RECOGNITION OF WORLD AIDS DAY, SHOWTIME TO AIR �BEAT THE DRUM� & �3 NEEDLES�
International Award-Winning �Beat The Drum� Makes U.S. Premiere, �3 Needles� Stars Lucy Liu, Chl�e Sevigny, Olympia Dukakis, Stockard Channing, Sandra Oh & Shawn Ashmore
LOS ANGELES (November 15, 2006) � In recognition of World AIDS Day, SHOWTIME will present two films spotlighting the atrocities and complexities of the insidious disease. On Friday, December 1st, SHOWTIME will air the U.S. television premiere of BEAT THE DRUM at 8 PM ET/PT, and, on Monday, December 4th, 3 NEEDLES debuts at 9 PM ET/PT.
BEAT THE DRUM is a thought-provoking story which chronicles the journey of �Musa,� a little orphan boy who leaves his Zulu village and sets out for Johannesburg in search of work and his uncle, carrying along with him his father�s last precious gift: a tribal drum. Musa�s indomitable spirit never wavers and he returns to his village with an understanding about the �mysterious illness� plaguing the country, a disease that his elders have failed to grasp.
The inspiration for BEAT THE DRUM came from producers W. David McBrayer and Richard Shaw who were in East Africa in 1999 while filming a television series for the SABC (South African Broadcasting Corporation) chronicling the AIDS epidemic in Africa. Approximately 30 million people have died from AIDS in sub-Saharan Africa, leaving behind nearly 12 million orphans.
�It was a learning experience for us about what was truly going on,� says Shaw. �As we studied more, the real extent of the problem become overwhelming � the numbers are the equivalent of seven major U.S. cities being wiped out!�
To date, BEAT THE DRUM has garnered near 30 film awards across the international film festival circuit. It is directed by first-time South African director David Hickson from an original screenplay by W. David McBrayer, and produced by McBrayer, Karen S. Shapiro and Richard Shaw. It will make its international debut in Johannesburg, South Africa, on Friday, November 24th.
3 NEEDLES goes behind the lives of three people living in China, Canada, and South Africa who struggle to sustain their spirits in the face of the worldwide AIDS pandemic. In China, a black market blood smuggler (Lucy Liu) unwittingly unleashes a deadly plague in a farming village; in Canada a third-rate porn actor (Shawn Ashmore) cheats on his blood tests and devastates his mother (Stockard Channing); and, on the South African coast, a novice nun (Chl�e Sevigny) strays from her spiritual mission to help raise a family of AIDS orphans.
The film features a celebrated international cast that also includes Oscar� winner Olympia Dukakis, �Grey's Anatomy� star Sandra Oh, Ian Roberts from last year's Oscar�-winning "Tsotsi," and "Shortbus" star Sook-Yin Lee.
On December 1st (World AIDS Day), 3 NEEDLES will have a limited theatrical release in major cities across the U.S.
�I asked myself this question,� says the film�s director, writer, producer Thom Fitzgerald. �Why at a time when all of mankind has a common enemy in the AIDS virus has it not brought us together in order to fight it? The answer I discovered along the path of writing the movie is that the enemy is unrecognizable from country to country, from culture to culture.�
3 NEEDLES is also produced by Bryan Hofbauer and Michael Gleissner.