October 17, 2002

"Who Ever Heard of Women Taking Over A Prison?"
Last night, I saw a video print of the indie feature CIVIL BRAND, about a group of sistas incarcerated in a prison owned by a private company that uses them as slave labor in an American sweatshop. Sounds crazy , doesn't it? If it doesn, then I guess you've never heard of The Corrections Corp of America, which trades on the New York Stock Exchange, symbol CXW. Point being, it's real, and it's happening right now. So, is anyone surprised that Lion's Gate Entertainment wouldn't give the filmmakers the necessary days to complete the film after only 15 shooting days? So, like any other industrious director, Neema (a former neigbor of mine) cut together what she had and still ends up with a complete film. They've won several audience awards at UrbanWorld and the American Black Film Festival. Did I mention that it has a rediculously talented cast, including LisaRaye ("PLayer's Club"), Mos Def, MC Lyte, Da Brat, Tichina Arnold (Pam from "Martin"), Monica Calhoun ("The Best Man"), Lark Voorhees ("Saved By The Bell" & "How To Be A Player"), and Clifton Powell (Cutty from "Dead Presidents"), who absolutely steals the show. Check out their site to see if and when they're coming to your town, and, for all you Angelenos out there, catch it at AFI FEST next month, and maybe you all can convince the studio to finally give it a theatrical release.
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