All Def Digital and Russell Simmons have partnered with award-winning editor Jason Zeldes to executive produce Zeldes’ documentary feature directorial debut Romeo Is Bleeding, a stirring documentary that explores the power of spoken word poetry to save and elevate youth, in one of the most violent suburbs of the country. The Film Collaborative will release the award-winning film in select theatres beginning July 28.
The announcement was jointly made today by Sanjay Sharma, President and CEO of All Def Digital, and Romeo is Bleeding producer Michael Klein of Circadian Pictures.
“This is a powerful and provocative film that could not be more timely, or timeless. It carries a critical message about the power of the written – and spoken – word to save and transform individuals and communities,” said Simmons. “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, known widely as the founder of iconic hip hop brands such as Def Jam Records and Phat Farm, also brought spoken word to the forefront of artistic culture through nearly a decade of “Def Poetry Jam” on HBO. He also received a Tony Award for Brave New Voices, a spoken word inspired play on Broadway.
Romeo Is Bleeding has won more than 20 awards at high profile film festivals including Audience Award for Best Documentary Feature at the San Francisco International Film Festival, Audience Award Best Documentary at the Aspen Film Fest, Best Documentary Feature at the Napa Valley Film Festival and many more.
With Donté Clark’s evocative and stirring street poetry serving as a backdrop, Romeo is Bleeding captures the community tensions, violence and heartbreak that haunt neighborhoods like Richmond, California across the country (and around the world). As Donté leads a cast of high school students in an effort to mount a fresh adaptation of “Romeo and Juliet,”