Forest Whitaker and Sundance trying to save Newark

Tue Nov 18, 2008 4:47am EST
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By Kimberly Nordyke

LOS ANGELES (Hollywood Reporter) - Sundance Channel is taking an in-depth look at the challenges facing Newark, N.J., in a new documentary series backed in part by Forest Whitaker.

"Brick City" will center on Newark Mayor Cory Booker, local citizens and key figures -- from real estate developers to ex-gang members -- as they try to remake the city, working to stamp out violence, poverty and corruption and make improvements in housing, employment and education.

Whitaker, the Oscar-winning star of "The Last King of Scotland," will serve as an executive producer with the series' directors, Marc Levin ("Slam") and Mark Benjamin ("The Last Party").

The series will debut with six half-hour episodes in the third quarter of 2009. The series will take place over the span of about a year so viewers can see whether things change.

Sundance executive vp/GM Laura Michalchyshyn said Whitaker is a "huge supporter of this project and of Newark," but that it was too early to determine if he might provide voice-over for the series.

Reuters/Hollywood Reporter

<p>Forest Whitaker arrives at the Stand Up To Cancer broadcast event in Hollywood September 5, 2008. REUTERS/Fred Prouser</p>