[01/25/08 - 04:28 PM]
Jeffrey Wright, Zoe Saldana, Melvin Van Peebles and Latanya Richardson-Jackson Star in 'Blackout,' the Explosive Story of a Forgotten New York Neighborhood During the Largest Power Failure in American History
BET Home Entertainment will also debut BLACKOUT on DVD through its distribution deal with Paramount Home Entertainment on February 5.

[via press release from BET]

Jeffrey Wright, Zoe Saldana, Melvin Van Peebles and LaTanya Richardson-Jackson Star in 'BLACKOUT,' The Explosive Story of a Forgotten New York Neighborhood During the Largest Power Failure in American History

Worldwide Premiere Set for Friday, February 1 at 8:00 p.m. ET/PT on BET; DVD Hits Stores on February 5

LOS ANGELES, Jan. 25 -- A massive power outage sets off a chain reaction of frustration, violence and despair in an inner city neighborhood when BET world premieres BLACKOUT, a riveting new drama inspired by actual events, on Friday, February 1 at 8 p.m. ET/PT. Starring Emmy(R) and Golden Globe(R) winner Jeffrey Wright (Casino Royale, "Angels in America"), NAACP Image(R) Award nominee Zoe Saldana (Guess Who, Vantage Point), pioneering filmmaker Melvin Van Peebles (Sweet Sweetback's Badasssss Song), and veteran actress LaTanya Richardson-Jackson (The Fighting Temptations, Freedomland), BLACKOUT recounts the devastating events of two days and a night in East Flatbush, Brooklyn, a simmering African American enclave forgotten in the midst of the largest power failure in American history.

BLACKOUT was written and directed by Jerry LaMothe (Nora's Hair Salon) and produced by Jeffrey Wright. In addition to the film's worldwide television premiere on BET, BET Home Entertainment will debut BLACKOUT on DVD through its distribution deal with Paramount Home Entertainment on February 5, 2008. BLACKOUT is the first original feature film acquisition by BET Home Entertainment.

In the summer of 2003, the largest blackout in history darkened cities throughout the northeastern United States and Canada. Inspired by actual events, LaMothe creates a poignant picture of a struggling neighborhood in Brooklyn as it descends into chaos. Looters emerge, violence breaks out and residents fear for their lives as they wait for help that never comes. Based on real life stories, BLACKOUT weaves a compelling narrative from the lives of an interrelated group of residents. The film's main characters include a rising young publishing executive and her traumatized husband; a single mother and her college-bound son; the neighborhood poet and her philandering boyfriend; a Middle Eastern convenience store owner; an elderly building superintendent and the wealthy white landlord he shelters from the tenants' anger; the gangbangers who terrorize the neighborhood; and the local barber. Some will find each other in the darkness, others will lose everything they have ever worked for and East Flatbush will never forget the events of these two days.

For Wright, the film offers an opportunity to explore issues within this Brooklyn neighborhood and its response to adversity within the context of this historic incident.

"It's very much about the interweaving of the lives of this community. I thought it would be fun to paint an illustration of who we are," Wright explains. "There are a lot of pressures on this community. I think the film explores some of these pressures within the context of the blackout of 2003."

Additional members of the film's gifted ensemble cast include: Sean Blakemore (Dress 2 Impre$$, Woman Thou Art Loosed), Jamie Hector ("The Wire"), Michael B. Jordan ("The Wire"), hip hop star Prodigy (of Mobb Deep), Tony(R) Award nominee Anthony Chisholm ("Radio Golf") and Saul Rubinek (War).

A favorite at festivals worldwide, BLACKOUT premiered at the 2007 Tribeca Film Festival, opened the 2007 Urbanworld/VIBE Film Festival, where director Jerry LaMothe earned the "Directors Spotlight Award," and screened at the Chicago International Film Festival, Sao Paolo Film Festival, London's BIFF Festival, Amsterdam's Africa in the Picture International Film Festival and the Zurich Film Festival.

About BET Networks

BET Networks, a subsidiary of Viacom, Inc. (NYSE: VIA and VIA.B), is the nation's leading provider of quality entertainment, music, news and public affairs television programming for the African-American audience. The primary BET channel reaches more than 84 million households according to Nielsen media research, and can be seen in the United States, Canada and the Caribbean. BET is the dominant African-American consumer brand with a diverse group of businesses extensions: BET.com, a leading internet destination for Black entertainment, music, culture, and news; BET Digital Networks - BET J, BET Gospel and BET Hip Hop, attractive alternatives for cutting-edge entertainment tastes; BET Event Productions, a full-scale event management and production company; BET Home Entertainment, a collection of BET-branded offerings for the home environment including DVDs and video-on-demand; BET Mobile, a service venture into the lucrative world of ring tones, games and video content for wireless devices; and BET International, an extension of BET network programming for global distribution.


Paramount Home Entertainment (PHE) is part of Paramount Pictures Corporation, a unit of Viacom (NYSE: VIA, VIA.B), a global entertainment company that produces and distributes filmed entertainment through the Paramount Motion Picture Group. PHE is responsible for the worldwide sales, marketing and distribution of home entertainment products on behalf of various parties including: Paramount Pictures, DreamWorks SKG, Paramount Vantage, Paramount Classics, Nickelodeon, MTV, Comedy Central, CBS, PBS and Hasbro and for providing home entertainment fulfillment services for DreamWorks Animation Home Entertainment.


  [january 2008]  


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