‘Drumline,’ ‘Barbershop’ top Urbanworld

More than 60 worldwide indies will screen

The sixth annual Urbanworld Film Festival, unspooling in Gotham Aug. 7-11, will kick off with the world premiere of 20th Century Fox’s “Drumline” and close with a special screening of MGM’s comedy “Barbershop,” starring Ice Cube, Eve and Cedric the Entertainer.

A showcase for films by black, Latino and Asian filmmakers, Urbanworld will also present special screenings of Nick Broomfield’s “Biggie & Tupac” and the drama “Paid in Full.”

More than 60 independent films from around the world will screen during the HBO-sponsored fest. Full slate will be announced in the coming weeks; lineup includes an international shorts program, the HBO documentary program, works in progress, panel discussions, a live staged reading of the screenplay competition finalists and the actor’s spotlight.

“When we started Urbanworld six years ago, our goal was to build a cinematic event in New York City which presented an embracing, inclusive spirit,” said Joy Huang, exec producer of the fest. “Our program this year reflects the strong momentum in the creative community behind those diversified voices.”

“Drumline” was helmed by Charles Stone, known for his “Whazzup?!” Budweiser spots. Story was created by Shawn Schepps with a screenplay by Tina Gordon Chism. Wendy Finerman, Timothy M. Bourne and Jody Gerson produced. The fish-out-of-water comedy concerns a talented street drummer from Harlem who enrolls in a Southern university, expecting to lead its marching band’s drumline to victory. He initially flounders in his new world before realizing that it takes more than talent to reach the top. Fox will release the film in the fall.

The comedy “Barbershop” depicts a day at a barber shop on the south side of Chicago that’s a gathering place for an eclectic and hilarious cast of characters. Tim Story directs from a story by Mark Brown and screenplay by Brown and Don D. Scott and Marshall Todd. Robert Teitel, George Tillman Jr. and Mark Brown produced; pic’s slated for a September release.

“Biggie & Tupac” explores the unsolved murders of rap superstars Christopher Wallace, aka Biggie Smalls/the Notorious B.I.G., and Tupac Shakur.

Among the fest’s panels will be “The Eternal Question: What Does a Producer Do?,” to be moderated by Disney-based producer Debra Martin Chase, whose credits include “The Princess Diaries,” “The Preacher’s Wife” and “Courage Under Fire.” Teitel, who produced such pics as “Soul Food” and “Men of Honor,” is one of the panelists.

The Urbanworld Film Festival was launched in August 1997 by founder Stacy Spikes, a former exec at Miramax and October Films.

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