TONY(R) AWARD WINNER & GRAMMY(R) AWARD NOMINEE ANIKA NONI ROSE,
THREE-TIME TONY(R) AWARD & GRAMMY(R) AWARD NOMINEE DAVID ALAN GRIER
AND SKAI JACKSON START PRODUCTION ON
"THE WATSONS GO TO BIRMINGHAM,"
A HALLMARK CHANNEL ORIGINAL MOVIE WORLD PREMIERE SEPTEMBER 20,
BASED ON CHRISTOPHER PAUL CURTIS' NEWBERY HONOR WINNING BOOK
Written by Tonya Lewis Lee;
Executive Produced By Lee and Emmy(R) Award Winner Nikki Silver;
Directed by Tony(R) Award Nominee Kenny Leon;
LaTanya Richardson, Wood Harris, Bryce Jenkins And Harrison Knight Also Star
Part of "Walmart and P&G Present Walden Family Theater," A New Series of Family Movies
Created by Walmart, P&G, Walden Media and ARC Entertainment
In an adaptation of Christopher Paul Curtis' 1996 Newbery Honor and Coretta Scott King Honor Award winning book The Watsons Go To Birmingham 1963 about an "All American Family" and their historic summer experience, the Watsons set out on a family road trip where their experiences give them a newfound courage to stand up for what is right and helps them grow stronger as a family in the process.
Hallmark Channel announces the start of production in Atlanta, Georgia, for "The Watsons Go To Birmingham," a Hallmark Channel Original Movie set to have its World Premiere on Friday, September 20 (8p.m. ET/PT, 7C). Tony(R) Award winner and Grammy(R) Award nominee Anika Noni Rose ("Dreamgirls," "The Princess and the Frog," "The Good Wife") stars along with three-time Tony(R) Award nominee and Grammy(R) Award nominee David Alan Grier ("Porgy and Bess," "PEEPLES," "In Living Color"), Skai Jackson ("Jessie"), LaTanya Richardson ("The Fighting Temptations"), Wood Harris ("The Wire," "Remember The Titans"), Bryce Jenkins ("Easy A," "Have A Little Faith") and Harrison Knight ("We the Party").
Written by Tonya Lewis Lee, executive produced by Lee and Emmy(R) Award Winner Nikki Silver ("Reading Rainbow") and directed by Tony(R) Award nominee Kenny Leon ("A Raisin in the Sun," "Fences," "Steel Magnolias"), the film will be part of Hallmark Channel's exciting new Friday night appointment viewing franchise, "Walden Family Theater," created in collaboration with Walmart, Procter & Gamble, award-winning family entertainment producer Walden Media ("The Chronicles Of Narnia," "Bridge To Terabithia," "Holes") and fast-growing independent studio ARC Entertainment. "Walden Family Theater" is designed to further fill the void on TV for quality family entertainment.
Set in the Summer of 1963, Flint, Michigan is home to the Watsons, a close knit "All American Family" made up of Daniel and Wilona Watson, (Harris and Rose) and their three kids, 15 year-old juvenile delinquent Byron (Knight), nerdy 11 year-old Kenny (Jenkins) and eight year-old adorable sister Joetta (Jackson). When Byron's antics go over the top, his parents realize enough is enough and they decide the family needs a dose of Grandma Sands (Richardson) no nonsense approach in Birmingham, Alabama.
So the Watsons load up the 1948 Plymouth Brown Bomber outfitted with a true tone Ultra-Glide turntable and head South with plenty of comedy en route. When they finally make it to Birmingham, they meet Grandma Sands and her friend, Mr. Robert (Grier), who show them around town and the Watsons discover that life is very different there than in Flint - and not necessarily for the better. During that historic summer, the Watsons find themselves caught up in something far bigger than Byron's antics. Something that will change their lives and country forever.
"The Watsons Go To Birmingham" is produced by Walden Media, ARC Entertainment and Tonik Productions, LLC in association with WalMart and Procter & Gamble. Nikki Silver and Tonya Lewis Lee serve as executive producers. The film is produced by Phil Kleinbart, written by Tonya Lewis Lee, based on Christopher Paul Curtis' novel, The Watsons Go To Birmingham 1963 published by Random House Children's Books, and directed by Kenny Leon.
About Hallmark Channel
Hallmark Channel, owned and operated by Crown Media Holdings, Inc., is a 24-hour basic cable network that provides a diverse slate of high-quality entertainment programming available in high definition (HD) and standard definition (SD) to a national audience of 87 million subscribers. Hallmark Channel is the nation's leading destination for quality family programming with an ambitious slate of original TV movies and specials, as well as some of television's most beloved sitcoms and series, including The Golden Girls, Frasier, and Happy Days. The channel is also home to a range of lifestyle programming, anchored by Home & Family, a daily two-hour live show shot in a fully functional house located on the Universal Studios lot, and Marie, a one-hour talk show hosted by iconic entertainer, Marie Osmond. Hallmark Channel's sibling network, Hallmark Movie Channel, also available in HD and SD, focuses on family-friendly movies with a mix of original films, classic theatrical releases, and presentations from the acclaimed Hallmark Hall of Fame library.
About Walden Media
Walden Media creates films and books for the whole family to enjoy together. Past award-winning films include: "The Chronicles of Narnia" series, "Holes," "Nim's Island," "Charlotte's Web," the Sundance Audience Prize Winning documentary "Waiting for 'Superman,'" and the recent hit "Parental Guidance".
About ARC Entertainment
ARC Entertainment, founded in 2010, is a fast growing, fully integrated production and distribution company providing both physical and digital distribution and sales services entertainment-based products. ARC Entertainment has a robust distribution platform which enables it to monetize Content through key revenue streams such as Theatrical Distribution, SVOD, VOD, PPV, Digitally and Physical DVD. The Company has unparalleled relationships with major national retailers and a management team with a history of success in the Entertainment and Consumer Products industries.
About Radom House
Random House Children's Books is the world's largest English-language children's trade book publisher. Creating books for toddlers through young adult readers, in all formats from board books to activity books to picture books, novels, ebooks, and apps, the imprints of Random House Children's Books bring together award-winning authors and illustrators, world-famous franchise characters, and multimillion-copy series. The company's website, Kids @ Random (www.randomhousekids.com) offers an array of activities, games, and resources for children, teens, parents, and educators. Random House Children's Books is a division of Random House, Inc., whose parent company is Bertelsmann, a leading international media company.