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Wednesday, January 17, 2007

IndieSeen: News and Gossip

The CEO of a theater chain said he won't show a film about black college fraternities at any of his Springfield theaters this week out of fear it could trigger the kind of gang violence that erupted during another movie last month. The decision drew criticism from the president of the Springfield branch of the NAACP, who said it hurts black audiences, particularly black families that would be attracted to what he says is an uplifting film. The movie, "Stomp the Yard," is about a dance competition between black college fraternities.

Tony Kerasotes of Kerasotes Theatres, a Midwest chain, said he did not make his decision based on race but out of concern that the film would attract gang members. He said he feared a repeat of a fight and shooting that occurred during a Christmas Day screening of "Black Christmas" at Parkway Pointe theater in Springfield. "Black Christmas" is a horror film and did not depict the black community. Police said two groups of youths began fighting inside the theater and at least two fired shots in the theater's lobby. One teen was shot during the melee that police say stemmed from a long-standing feud between two gangs. One man has been arrested, but authorities say they don't believe he shot the injured teen and the investigation was continuing.

"I was fearful ("Stomp the Yard") could become the occasion for more gang violence, because I felt certain it would draw that audience," Kerasotes said. He added that he made the decision, in part, because "virtually all" of the people involved with the shooting are still at large.

NYIndieSeen Comment:

What is scary about this article is that movies that are screened at movie theaters are dictated by the owner of the theaters NOT the distribution company. It's a horrifying prospect to know that if a theater manager does not like your INDIE film, they can opt to NOT have it screened at their theater. And we're not just talking about small private theaters either. We mean the AMC's, Regals, and United Artists theater chains too. Why was DreamGirls only in 800 theaters across the U.S. as Jamie Foxx quoted on the Golden Globes Monday evening?

Tell us what you think!

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