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TV One Launches Monthly Original Movie Showcase With Timely Look at Racism

TV One Launches Monthly Movie Showcase
Frederick M. Brown/Getty Images

The African-American cabler TV One is adding a monthly original movie showcase to its schedule, newly appointed prexy Brad Siegel said Friday at the Television Critics Assn. press tour.

The original film platform will kick off Feb. 7 with “White Water,” a drama that has a timely theme of exploring segregation and racism during the era of the Civil Rights Movement.

Pic tells the story of a 7-year-old black boy who becomes obsessed with the desire to taste water from the whites-only drinking fountain. Rusty Cundieff of White Water Productions is directing and Dwayne Johnson-Cochran is producing. Michael C. Brandy and Eric Stein wrote the screenplay.

Cundieff noted that the recent incidents of police shootings of unarmed men and the protests they have unleashed add more weight to the project.

“It’s timely in a way that I didn’t imagine it would be when I first tried to get this film done,” he said. “It’s very odd that we’re dealing with some of these same issues” in the present day, he said.

D’Angela Proctor, TV One’s senior VP of programming and production, said that telling the story from the perspective of a boy makes it easier to tackle the complex issue of institutional discrimination. “Racism is such a heavy, heavy topic,” Proctor said. “Taking it from the entry point of the little boy just eased it a little bit.”

Twins Amari and Amir O’Neil play the boy. Amari underscored the weight of the issue when asked by a reporter what he thought of the fact that blacks and whites were expected to use different drinking fountains a half-century ago.

“I think they should have stopped it in 1963,” Amari O’Neil said emphatically.

The second pic in the series, “Hear No Evil,” from director-screenwriter Russ Parr of Up To Parr Prods., debuts on March 14. The film follows a 15-year-old hearing-impaired girl who gets in an accident, which restores her hearing — and gives her the ability to hear from God. Eric Tomosunas serves as producer.