This cliche-ridden story of two sisters with artistic ambitions rarely rises above school-talent-show skill level.

The effort of several alums of the Duke Ellington School of the Arts in Washington, D.C. (the “diamond district” of the title), this cliche-ridden story of two sisters with artistic ambitions rarely rises above school-talent-show skill level and production values. After an April 24 Capital City bow, the pic travels to New York, Atlanta and Chicago and may appeal to fans of go-go music, D.C.’s percussion-based funk, and “The Wire’s” Wood Harris, who plays a thuggish band manager romantically linked to both sisters.

Aspiring singer Jazz (Monique Cameron) drops out of college to return to Washington to be with her dying mom, waiting tables until she gets her big break as a backup singer with a go-go band. But Jazz wants more, and the price of ambition is getting date-raped in Gotham by a record producer. Innocent younger sib Leah (Erica Chamblee), meanwhile, focuses on her modern-dance career and narrates the proceedings in redundant voiceover. This Diamond is definitely in the rough, weighed down by bad dialogue, overacting, poorly miked scenes and awkward transitions. The pic was screened on DVD, making the images seem as fuzzy as the saccharine ending.

Jazz in the Diamond District

Production

A Truly Indie release of a Soblu production. Produced by Erica Chamblee, Lindsey Christian. Executive producers, Alphonso A. Christian, Michaele Chamblee Christian, Peggy Cooper Cafritz. Directed by Lindsey Christian. Screenplay, Lindsey Christian, Sia Tiambi Barnes; story, Erica Chamblee.

Crew

Camera (color, HD), Christopher T.J. McGuire; editors, Terry Dawson, Daniel Rezende; music, Carl "Chucky" Thompson; music supervisor, Bryan Walsh; production designer, Hiroshi Matsuko; art director, Stephanie Norwalk; costume designer, Olani Jones; choreographer, Neil Whitehead. Reviewed at Magno screening room, New York, April 23, 2009. MPAA Rating: R. Running time: 79 MIN.

With

Monique Cameron, Wood Harris, Erica Chamblee, Andre Strong, Olani Jones, Clifton Powell, Ruth Chamblee.
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