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Paramount Network just announced the 2019 film slate for its award-winning I Am documentary franchise. Produced by filmmaker Derik Murray’s Network Entertainment, the three new chapters of the critically-acclaimed franchise will feature Richard Pryor, Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis and Patrick Swayze.

These three iconic figures join the prestigious roster who have been featured in past I Am documentaries, including John F. Kennedy Jr., Martin Luther King Jr., Bruce Lee, Steve McQueen, Evel Knievel, Heath Ledger, Paul Walker, Sam Kinison, and Chris Farley.

I Am Richard Pryor, the first of the three 2019 installments, will make its world premiere at South by Southwest Film Festival on Tuesday, March 12, and will debut on Paramount Network on Friday, March 15 at 10:00 p.m. ET/PT. Premiere dates for the Jackie O and Patrick Swayze documentaries will be announced at a later date.

I Am Richard Pryor explores and celebrates the life and career of the iconic comedian who lifted himself out of poverty to achieve worldwide success. From his first comedy album until his death of a heart attack in 2005, the revolutionary stand-up comedian dispensed what critics regarded as the most poignant and penetrating comedic view of African-American life ever afforded to the U.S. at large. Volatile yet vulnerable, crass but sensitive, streetwise and cocky, Pryor did not simply tell stories, he brought them to life and was considered a trailblazer for generations of comics to come. The film explores his unusually personal art that was a window into a vulnerable soul, as well as the endless struggle to extend dignity and equality to all.

I Am Richard Pryor includes exclusive interviews with comedians, filmmakers, family, and friends including Sandra Bernhard, Ron De Blasio, Dr. Todd Boyd, Michael Epps, Tiffany Haddish, Henry Jaglom, Howie Mandel, Thom Mount, Ishmael Reed, Scott Saul, Michael Schultz, Greg Tate, Lily Tomlin, Rocco Urbisci, Jimmie Walker, and Jennifer Pryor, who is also featured, and during a moving and poignant moment in the documentary, uniquely honors the life of her husband.

“We are thrilled to bring the stories of these three incredible icons to Paramount Network through the I Am franchise,” said Keith Cox, President, Development and Production, Paramount Network and TV Land. “It’s truly an honor to pay homage to this group of extraordinary people through these inspiring films. We couldn’t be more excited with their inclusion on our 2019 documentary slate.”

“We are committed to delivering an authentic and entertaining portrayal of each of the icons we are honored to portray in our ongoing I Am series of documentary features. Every one of our iconic subjects has made their personal mark on history, and along the way has captured the hearts and minds of audiences and fans around the world,” said Derik Murray, Network Entertainment’s Founder/Producer. “I Am Richard Pryor was made possible by Jennifer Pryor’s resolute conviction to tell Richard’s story with a foundation of truth and respect for his massive legacy. Alongside Jennifer’s revealing interview, we have assembled a brilliant cast that blows open the door on a complex and gifted artist whose profound impact lives on.”

The documentary, directed by Jesse James Miller, is the latest from Network Entertainment’s award-winning filmmaker Derik Murray, who has previously produced films on epochal figures such as John F. Kennedy Jr., Martin Luther King Jr., Heath Ledger, Bruce Lee, Paul Walker, and Chris Farley.

I Am Richard Pryor is Executive Produced by Paul Gertz, Kent Wingerak, and Richard Pryor’s widow, Jennifer Pryor. Paramount Network’s Jaimee Kosanke also serves as Executive Producer.

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NiteLite Pictures unleashes Coronavirus Positivity Initiative

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NiteLite Pictures’ Harry Lowell and Ari Wilhelm

In response to a real demand from its broadcast, Web and distribution partners, as well as charities seeking support, award-winning, Los Angeles-based production company NiteLite Pictures has unveiled the Coronavirus Positivity Initiative, a worldwide effort to create programming that promotes togetherness, community and celebrates the human spirit during the global lockdown.  

Under the banner of the Coronavirus Positivity Initiative, the company is launching a series of programs that spotlight the heroes on the front lines, inspiring individuals from around the world, and comedy shows that take a lighter look at life during the pandemic. All the programs will feature real people from around the globe in an effort to help bring audiences closer together.  

“This is truly a unique time in the world’s history,” comments NiteLite producer Ari Wilhelm.  

“While everyone is doing their part to help keep family and communities safe, there is a need for entertainment content like never before, and specifically relevant, uplifting content that is understanding and respectful of the situation we are all living.”

NiteLite is working closely on the initiative with its UK sales agent Meredith Coral of Lost Art Television to develop programming content tailored to viewing audiences and requested by broadcasters and media platforms during this time.

“NiteLite is responding to broadcasters’ needs and the audiences desires for not only new content, but relevant content to their current situation,” adds NiteLite executive producer Harry Lowell.

“We’re developing heartwarming and comedy programming  that connects to people’s lives during this new norm, while devising production solutions to deliver shows in a matter of days, not months, both remotely and safely.”

The entertainment hub will produce “self quarantine-based” content designed to resonate and connect to audiences. The company’s homebound, creative teams are currently developing engaging programming that can be produced quickly and remotely, while under stay at home orders.

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Oscilloscope’s ‘THE INFILTRATORS’ headed to Virtual Cinema next month

Official 2019 Sundance Film Festival selection, THE INFILTRATORS is a [chilling documentary chronicling the lives] of young immigrants who are detained by Border Patrol and thrown into for-profit detention center— on purpose.

Marco and Viri are members of the National Immigrant Youth Alliance, a group of radical DREAMers who are on a mission to stop unjust deportations.

The film will be available via Virtual Cinema starting May 1 and VOD starting June 2.

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The cast of ABC’s “The Baker and the Beauty” talks Latina Inclusion, Immigration, and Marital Trends

Descending to ABC spring 2020, rom-com series “The Baker and the Beauty” will premiere on the small screen this April. The show centers around Daniel Garcia, who’s working at his family’s bakery. When he meets the A-list superstar Noa Hamilton during a night out, his life gets thrown into the spotlight. Can this unlikely pairing navigate the fame, and their families differences?

NDLYSS caught up with the cast at SCAD’s 2020 aTVFest to get the behind-the-scene scoop on the upcoming show. Press Play!

Additional camera personnel: Jeqhari Miles for NDLYSS

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