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[11/18/04 - 12:00 AM]
Showtime Tackles the Most Emotionally Charged Stories of Our Generation with Three Gripping New Documentaries

[via press release from Showtime]

Showtime Tackles the Most Emotionally Charged Stories of Our Generation With Three Gripping New Documentaries

LOS ANGELES, Nov. 18 -- Some of the most controversial civil rights clashes and social justice issues of our time are broached in a trio of new Showtime documentaries airing under the SHO EXPOSURE banner. The films explore our basic freedoms and how we fight back when our rights are threatened or denied. With these films, Showtime takes a hard look at the conflict over same-sex marriage and the backlash from the White House in SAME SEX AMERICA; the difficulties faced by five exonerated men attempting to rebuild their lives after years of unjust, brutal prison life with AFTER INNOCENCE; and teens at Rikers prison struggling against poverty and violence in RIKERS HIGH. The films are slated to air in 2005.

When the Massachusetts Supreme Court ruled in favor of same-sex marriages earlier this year, it created a wave of unsanctioned marriages across the country. A powerful backlash from conservatives followed, reaching all the way to the White House. President George Bush proposed a constitutional ban on same-sex marriages that catapulted the issue to the forefront of the 2004 Presidential race. For many couples, the road to marriage can be a difficult one -- riddled with doubt and anxiety -- for same-sex couples that is compounded by external pressure and often condemnation. SAME SEX AMERICA follows several gay and lesbian couples, who have a personal stake in this civil rights clash, as they face their own issues as well as society's prejudices. The film also examines both sides of the political debate and a family's right to define itself without interference from the state. Featured are religious leaders who feel the marriages are a violation of God's word, politicians who are conflicted between civil rights and their own beliefs, and a chorus of everyday people whose feelings on the issue have become a do-or- die situation. The film is directed by Henry Corra ("Umbrellas," "George") of Corra Films, Inc. It is produced by Alex R. Johnson. Executive Producers are Robert F. Katz and Jerry Kupfer.

AFTER INNOCENCE tells the dramatic story of five men who have survived a living nightmare -- spending decades in prison for crimes they didn't commit. The film focuses on their difficult journeys back into society after DNA evidence proves they are innocent. The men are thrust back into a world that moved on without them, with little or no support from the system that put them behind bars. Although society views exonerations as success stories -- wrongs that have been righted -- this film shows that the physical and mental scars of incarceration often last far longer than the sentences served. The film discusses society's responsibility to this group of survivors and also puts a spotlight on the flaws in America's criminal justice system that lead to wrongful convictions. AFTER INNOCENCE is written and produced by Jessica Sanders and Marc Simon in association with The American Film Foundation, an Academy(R) and Emmy(R)-award winning production company. The AFF's credits include "Return With Honor," the Oscar(R)-winning Documentary "Maya Lin: A Strong Clear Vision" and the Oscar(R)-nominated "Never Give Up: The 20th Century Odyssey of Herbet Zipper." AFTER INNOCENCE is directed by Jessica Sanders, an Academy-Award nominated filmmaker ("Sing!").

Rikers Island in New York is home to the largest correctional facility in North America. It boasts ten jails, 14,000 prisoners and the city's largest and most extreme high school. Here, 2,000 students struggle to survive behind bars and prepare for the outside world. The students of 'Island Academy' experience a full curriculum: GED classes, poetry workshops, and an annual graduation ceremony. But teachers and students are working against tough odds: many inmates never attended high school before they were locked up, many find jail safer than their lives on the streets and, as seven out of ten return to Rikers within a year, the teachers know that most of these young men are in the first phase of a life spent behind bars. RIKERS HIGH gives unprecedented and exclusive access to this unique institution and follows inmates as they attend classes, discuss their lives, and attempt to survive prison. RIKERS HIGH is produced by Jean-Michel Dissard, Victor Buhler and Bonnie Strauss. Victor Buhler is the director.

Showtime Networks Inc. (SNI), which is a wholly owned subsidiary of Viacom Inc., owns the premium television networks SHOWTIME(R), THE MOVIE CHANNEL(TM) and FLIX(R), as well as the multiplex channels SHOWTIME(R) TOO(TM), SHOWTIME(R) SHOWCASE, SHOWTIME EXTREME(R), SHOWTIME BEYOND(R), SHOWTIME NEXT(R), SHOWTIME WOMEN(R), SHOWTIME FAMILYZONE(R) and TMC xtra. SNI also offers SHOWTIME HD(R), THE MOVIE CHANNEL HD(R), SHOWTIME ON DEMAND(R) and THE MOVIE CHANNEL ON DEMAND(TM). SNI operates and manages the premium television network SUNDANCE CHANNEL(R), which is owned by SNI, Robert Redford and NBC Universal. All SNI feeds provide enhanced sound using Dolby Digital 5.1. SNI markets and distributes sports and entertainment events for exhibition to subscribers on a pay-per-view basis through SHOWTIME(R) PPV. Additionally, the advertiser-supported television network SHOWTIME is available in Turkey through a joint venture with UK-based Zone Vision.

SOURCE Showtime Networks Inc.
Web Site: http://www.SHO.com





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