"BEYOND THE BLACKBOARD," A NEW "HALLMARK HALL OF FAME" PRESENTATION STARRING EMILY VANCAMP, TO BE BROADCAST SUNDAY, APRIL 24 ON THE CBS TELEVISION NETWORK
Treat Williams, Who Starred with VanCamp in
Critically Acclaimed Series "Everwood,"
And the Emmy Award-Winning Timothy Busfield ("thirtysomething") Also Star
BEYOND THE BLACKBOARD, a new "Hallmark Hall of Fame" presentation starring Emily VanCamp ("Brothers & Sisters," "Everwood") will be broadcast Sunday, April 24 (9:00-11:00 PM, ET/PT) on the CBS Television Network. Inspired by a true story, this movie is about a 24-year-old first-time teacher who overcomes her initial fears and prejudices and makes a difference in the lives of the homeless children she teaches in a shelter's makeshift classroom. Treat Williams ("Everwood") and Emmy Award winner Timothy Busfield ("thirtysomething") also star.
Stacey Bess (Emily VanCamp), a young wife and mother of two in Salt Lake City who long dreamed of becoming a teacher, sets out to obtain her first teaching position after graduating from college at the end of 1987. With the school year already underway and her teaching options limited, she finds herself accepting a job at "a school with no name," where she is expected to teach homeless children from grades one through six in the same classroom. Despite concerns about the challenges of teaching students of various grade levels at the same time, Stacey is excited by the opportunity and earnestly prepares for her first day; however, her dream morphs into a nightmare when Stacey arrives at the shelter. She finds that the "classroom" is a filthy shed with a few tattered books, one desk, several old mismatched chairs and a resident rat. The school district's personnel director (Timothy Busfield) who hired her remains unreachable when she repeatedly tries to solicit resources. Additionally, the undernourished, unkempt and unruly children and their struggling, disillusioned and occasionally disrespectful parents are worlds away from Stacey's teaching dreams.
Stacey fights off her tears and discomfort and, with the support of her husband (Steve Talley), decides to become an advocate as well as a teacher. She starts by cleaning, painting and decorating the "classroom" with the help of an eager student, Maria (Paola Andino), and Nelson (Mat Greer), a kind and artistic 65-year-old homeless man from the shelter whom Stacey enlists as a teacher's aid and art teacher. She also finds an ally in the school district's empathetic superintendent (Treat Williams), who helps her get the desks and books that her students need � and even donates his own family's piano. In their refurbished classroom, Stacey encourages the students to share personal stories, which is often a healing experience for them. Reacting to Stacey's obvious interest and care for them, the students begin to blossom, demonstrating a thirst to learn and the ability to thrive in the classroom. Their parents react with appreciation and pride at their children's newfound knowledge and skills; however, setbacks and emotionally taxing moments are always around the corner, such as when children who are progressing so impressively are suddenly pulled from the school after their parents choose, or are forced, to leave the shelter. Stacey begins to realize that her time with these transient children is as important to her as it is to them and soon she can't picture herself teaching anywhere else.
Emily VanCamp recently starred on the series "Brothers & Sisters" as Rebecca Harper. She first won over audiences in her lead role on the critically acclaimed series, "Everwood," in which she worked with her BEYOND THE BLACKBOARD co-star, Treat Williams. She was also a series regular on "Glory Days." Her additional television credits include playing the lead female role in the upcoming mini-series, "Ben-Hur." Among her feature film credits are lead roles in "Black Irish," the thriller "Carriers" opposite Chris Pine, and "The Ring Two" opposite Naomi Watts.
Treat Williams' feature film credits include "127 Hours," "Hair," "The Ritz," "The Eagle Has Landed," "Prince of the City," "1941," "Smooth Talk," "Once Upon a Time in America," "Hollywood Ending," "Deep Rising," "The Phantom," "Deep End of the Ocean," "The Devil's Own" and "What Happens in Vegas." Among his television credits are his lead role in the critically acclaimed series, "Everwood," in which he worked with his BEYOND THE BLACKBOARD co-star Emily VanCamp. His additional television credits include the Hallmark Hall of Fame movie "Front of the Class," the movies "The Late Shift," "Streetcar Named Desire," "Hoover," "Dempsey" and "Max and Helen," and a recurring role on the series "Brothers & Sisters." His Broadway credits include "Grease," "Over Here," "Once in a Lifetime," "Love Letters," "Pirates of Penzance" and "Follies."
Timothy Busfield's television credits include lead roles on "thirtysomething," for which he won an Emmy Award for Best Supporting Actor in a Drama, and "Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip"; recurring roles on series, including "The West Wing," "Without a Trace," "Trapper John, M.D." and "Ed"; and a guest-starring appearance on "Entourage." Among his feature film credits are "Stripes," "Field of Dreams," "Sneakers," "Quiz Show," "Striking Distance," "Little Big League," "First Kid" and "Revenge of the Nerds" as well as its sequel. He has also appeared in Broadway productions of "Brighton Beach Memoirs" and "A Few Good Men."
BEYOND THE BLACKBOARD is a Hallmark Hall of Fame production. Brent Shields ("The Courageous Heart of Irena Sendler") and Gerald R. Molen ("Schindler's List") are executive producers; Jeff Bleckner ("Loving Leah") is the director. Camille Thomasson ("When Love Is Not Enough: The Lois Wilson Story") wrote the script based on the book Nobody Don't Love Nobody by Stacey Bess.
RATING: To Be Announced