Showtime, Lionsgate, and Spitfire Pictures have teamed up on a new, as yet untitled, documentary which will present a fascinating behind-the-scenes look at the cutthroat world of high school musicals in Southern Indiana. The announcement was made today by Robert Greenblatt, President of Entertainment for Showtime, and Kevin Beggs, President of Television Programming and Production for Lionsgate.
Written and directed by Barry Blaustein, whose work includes the award-winning documentary Beyond the Mat about the world of professional wrestling, the project is being co-produced by Lionsgate through its feature-length documentary unit, Showtime and Spitfire Pictures. Blaustein is producer, along with Spitfire’s Nigel Sinclair, who produced the Grammy Award-winning documentary No Direction Home: Bob Dylan, directed by Martin Scorsese. Spitfire’s Guy East and Tobin Armbrust are executive producers.
The film captures the drama, both on stage and off, when three Southern Indiana high schools — Floyd Central High School, New Albany High School and Jeffersonville High School — spend tens of thousands of dollars on their musical productions in order to compete for admission to the prestigious International Thespian Festival. The documentary follows the students who become involved in these musicals, as well as their parents, teachers, school administrators and local politicians, all of whom are heavily invested in the success of their shows.
“As someone who flourished behind-the-scenes in my own high school musicals in Rockford, Illinois, this documentary really speaks to me,” said Greenblatt. “Each year millions of young people in this country face exhilarating highs and lows in high school musicals and this is the wonderful story of three schools in Indiana.”
“We immediately recognized this project’s tremendous potential to resonate with audiences everywhere,” said Beggs, who also heads up Lionsgate’s feature- length documentary unit with Sandra Stern, COO of Television. “It exemplifies the kind of distinctive programming we set out to produce across all of our company’s divisions and we’re delighted to be in business with Spitfire and Showtime.”
“I want to show what high school musicals are really like; all the joy, all the love, all the backstabbing,” said Blaustein.
Lionsgate will retain worldwide rights distribution rights to the film, which is expected to be released in 2008.