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Russell Simmons to Executive Produce ‘Romeo Is Bleeding’ Documentary

All Def Digital and Russell Simmons have come on board to executive produce Jason Zeldes’ documentary “Romeo Is Bleeding” and set a theatrical release through the Film Collaborative beginning July 28.

“Romeo Is Bleeding” will roll out on VOD and DVD on Aug. 1. Sanjay Sharma, president and CEO of All Def Digital, and “Romeo Is Bleeding” producer Michael Klein of Circadian Pictures made the announcement Tuesday.

“Romeo Is Bleeding” won the audience awards for best documentary feature at the San Francisco International Film Festival and the Aspen Film Fest. The film focuses on young poet Donte Clark amid the longstanding  conflict between neighborhoods in Richmond, Calif.

“This is a powerful and provocative film that could not be more timely, or timeless,” Simmons said. “It carries a critical message about the power of the written – and spoken – word to save and transform individuals and communities. As funding for the arts, the youth, and community services continues to get slashed, Romeo Is Bleeding and its star show us the importance of the arts in our lives and how one person can make a huge difference in even the most hardened of communities.”

Simmons presented the spoken word “Def Poetry Jam” on HBO between 2002 and 2007 and received a Tony Award in 2003 for “Brave New Voices,” a spoken word inspired play on Broadway.

Sharma said “Romeo Is Bleeding” is an important project for All Def as it builds its spoken word platform, All Def Poetry.

“We see a renewed interest in the art form everywhere, as a therapeutic tool in school counseling on the one hand, and as a driving force behind lyricism in hip hop from Chance the Rapper to Kendrick Lamar on the other,” he added. “The project extends our mission of being a voice to the voiceless, helping elevate Donté’s personal journey, work and poetry, as well as RAW Talent and the RYSE Center in Richmond which help youth every day turn to the arts for solace.”

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