Articles: Showtime Salutes the African-American Spirit




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Jeff Usry
Special To

  In celebration of Black History month, the Showtime cable network is offering a strong lineup of African-American themed programming during February.

  The network is kicking of the month by featuring two original motion pictures beginning 8 p.m. ET/PT Feb. 6 with A Summer Storm starring newcomer Aaron Meeks and veteran actor Peter Falk who stars as an embittered Jewish Deli owner who finds an unlikely friendship with an inner-city youth.

  A Summer Storm has encore performances 7 p.m. EST Feb. 22 and 9 .a.m. EST Feb. 27.

  The second film, The Wishing Tree premieres 8 p.m. ET/PT Feb. 20 and 28 stars Alfre Woodard as a cynical big-city lawyer who has her life drastically changed when she returns to her rural home after the death of her mother, a legendary local storyteller.

  Also on tap is It's Black Entertainment, a montage of memorable musical scenes by black performers in film over the past 70 years (hosted by Vanessa Williams) premieres 8 p.m. ET/PT Feb. 13 as Showtime's centerpiece for Black History Month.

  Delroy Lindo In Conversation With Charles Burnett follows It's Black Entertainment at 9:30 p.m. ET/PT on Feb. 13.

  In addition, Showtime is featuring five short films by up-and-coming African-American filmmakers as part of the network's eighth annual Black Filmmaker Showcase.

  Showtime has awarded one of the filmmakers in this series a $30,000 grant to make a short film which will premiere exclusively on the network in the future.

  The following is a list of the short films that are scheduled to air back-to-back starting 10 p.m. EST Feb. 7:

KINGS (selected to screen at Slamdance)
The Director: Niva Dorell is Showtime's1999 grant winner.
The Big Picture: Dorell also wrote this story about an upwardly mobile black attorney who has to overcome impossible odds to become successful when a childhood friend takes him back to his inner-city beginnings..

The Director: Joy Lusco
The Big Picture: Andre Braugher stars as an estranged son from his father whose facing financial difficulties. Braugher ask his father to watch his son for a day which gives grandfather and grandson time to bond and allows long suppressed feelings between father and son to rise.

The Director: Isaac Webb
The Big Picture: A woman, along with her husband and young daughter, must visit her childhood home in New Orleans and decide what to do with her ailing mother who is having conversations with her dead husband and plans to renew her wedding vows.

The Director: Pamela Gibson-Lee
The Big Picture: When two criminals are doubled crossed by their partner, they must pose as federal agents to intercept their money on its way to a private residence where an apathetic wife and her verbally abusive husband (Heavy D.) reside.

The Director: Garret Williams (Winner of Showtime's 1997 Black Filmmaker grant for Spark).
The Big Picture: When a young boy shoots a squirrel with a BB gun his father taught him to shoot, he finds he must face the consequences. (Encore preformance 9:30 p.m. EST Feb. 20.)

  Showtime will be asking its viewers to vote on-line for their favorite film of the short film showcase and will broadcast the results 11:05 p.m. ET/PT Feb. 8.

  On-line voting begins following the premiere of BB Gun Feb. 7 and ends 11 p.m. EST Feb. 8. Viewers can log on to and follow the links to vote.


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