SHOWTIME, LIONSGATE AND SPITFIRE PICTURES PARTNER ON NEW UNTITLES HIGH SCHOOL MUSICAL DOCUMENTARY
LOS ANGELES, CA - (September 20, 2007) - Showtime, Lionsgate (NYSE: LGF), and Spitfire Pictures have teamed up on a new, as yet untitled, documentary which will present a fascinating behind-the-scenes look at the cutthroat world of high school musicals in Southern Indiana. The announcement was made today by Robert Greenblatt, President of Entertainment for Showtime, and Kevin Beggs, President of Television Programming and Production for Lionsgate.
Written and directed by Barry Blaustein, whose work includes the award-winning documentary "Beyond the Mat" about the world of professional wrestling, the project is being co-produced by Lionsgate through its highly successful feature-length documentary unit, Showtime and Spitfire Pictures. Blaustein is producer, along with Spitfire's Nigel Sinclair, who produced the Grammy Award-winning documentary "No Direction Home: Bob Dylan," directed by Martin Scorsese. Spitfire's Guy East and Tobin Armbrust are executive producers.
The film captures the drama, both on stage and off, when three Southern Indiana high schools - Floyd Central High School, New Albany High School and Jeffersonville High School - spend tens of thousands of dollars on their musical productions in order to compete for admission to the prestigious International Thespian Festival. The documentary follows the students who become involved in these musicals, as well as their parents, teachers, school administrators and local politicians, all of whom are heavily invested in the success of their shows.
"As someone who flourished behind-the-scenes in my own high school musicals in Rockford, Illinois, this documentary really speaks to me," said Greenblatt. "Each year millions of young people in this country face exhilarating highs and lows in high school musicals and this is the wonderful story of three schools in Indiana."
"We immediately recognized this project's tremendous potential to resonate with audiences everywhere," said Beggs, who also heads up Lionsgate's feature-length documentary unit with Sandra Stern, COO of Television. "It exemplifies the kind of distinctive programming we set out to produce across all of our company's divisions and we're delighted to be in business with Spitfire and Showtime."
"I want to show what high school musicals are really like; all the joy, all the love, all the backstabbing," said Blaustein.
Lionsgate will retain worldwide rights distribution rights to the film, which is expected to be released in 2008.
This latest production continues Showtime's commitment to supporting documentary filmmakers by giving them an outlet to air their relevant and provocative films. Most recently Showtime has produced and aired the award-winning documentaries Shame, After Innocence, Shine and Semper Fi: One Marine's Journey.
This marks the fourth production from Lionsgate's feature-length documentary unit for which Erik Nelson runs development as senior vice president. The division's past releases include Werner Herzog's critically acclaimed GRIZZLY MAN about the life and death of amateur grizzly bear expert Timothy Treadwell; LEONARD COHEN I'M YOUR MAN about one of music's most celebrated troubadours; and THE U.S. vs. JOHN LENNON, which recounts the story of Lennon's transformation from musical artist to anti-war activist and the U.S. government's efforts to silence him.
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Lionsgate is the leading independent filmed entertainment studio, winning the 2006 Best Picture Academy Award � for CRASH and operating as a premier producer and distributor of motion pictures, television programming, home entertainment, family entertainment, and video-on-demand content. Its prestigious and prolific library of more than 11,000 motion picture titles and television episodes is a valuable source of stable, recurring revenue and a foundation for the growth of the Company's core businesses. The Lionsgate brand is synonymous with original, daring, quality entertainment in markets around the world.
About Spitfire Pictures
Spitfire is currently in post production on "POSSESSION," a sexy psychological thriller starring Sarah Michelle Gellar (THE GRUDGE, CRUEL INTENTIONS) and is in production on the definitive documentary feature about The Who, currently titled AMAZING JOURNEY: THE STORY OF THE WHO, which it is producing with the band and Trinifold Management. This follows Spitfire's Grammy Award winning documentary of 2005, NO DIRECTION HOME: BOB DYLAN, directed by acclaimed filmmaker Martin Scorsese. Nigel Sinclair's and Guy East's long list of credits includes SLIDING DOORS, THE WEDDING PLANNER, IRIS, THE LIFE OF DAVID GALE, THE QUIET AMERICAN, and the box office smash hit TERMINATOR 3, THE RISE OF THE MACHINES.