NEW YORK — With its first pic, “Lockdown, USA,” world preeming Saturday in Tribeca’s NY NY section, nascent indie banner Article 19 Films has unveiled two socially conscious pics it has heading into production.
Helmed by Rebecca Chaiklin and Michael Skolnik, “Lockdown” follows hip-hop mogul Russell Simmons as he lobbies to repeal New York’s stringent, controversial Rockefeller Drug Laws through his Hip-Hop Summit Action Network org.
Chaiklin and Skolnik are next helming “Bling: A Planet Rock,” a docu set up as a co-production with VH1. The United Nations has put up a portion of the pic’s budget in a partnership with Article 19. Part of the film’s proceeds go to charity.
“Bling” — the first Article 19 pic being made with UN participation — chronicles the diamond wars of Sierra Leone and how hip-hop’s “bling” culture has unknowingly fueled such conflicts.
For “Bling,” Article 19 will take various hip-hop stars to Sierra Leone, with Kanye West, Jadakiss, Paul Wall and Tego Calderon in the mix.
Filippo Bozotti, who heads Article 19 along with Chaiklin and Skolnik,said the banner looks to make pics that involve current events, then adds stars into the fold to bring attention to such causes and create commercial appeal.
Banner’s next pic will be the docu “Cry Haiti,” which follows musician Wyclef Jean’s efforts to bring peace to his homeland. Pic is being helmed by Lisa Leone and Raquel Cepeda.
Article 19 is fueled by European private equity funds. Banner was named after the UN’s human rights declaration.
Gotham-based Emerging Pictures is helping the company rep rights to its Tribeca pic “Lockdown.”