The Sundance Channel will produce a six-episode documentary series about Newark to air summer 2009. The series is backed and may be produced by Forest Whitaker: SUNDANCE CHANNEL SERIES AIMS TO REMAKE NEWARK, NJ.
In what sounds like a non-fiction answer to The Wire, the Sundance Channel will produce Brick City, a docu-series set to explore the issues facing Newark, N.J. through first-hand access to citizens, local officials and the city itself.
Forest Whitaker, still hot from his Oscar for The Last King of Scotland, has emerged as the requisite celebrity backer of the series, though his role outside of a producer remains unclear (Reuters suggests a voice-over is a possibility). The series will be co-directed by Marc Levin and Mark Benjamin, and will pivot around a number of the ills the city faces, be it institutionalized corruption or environmental concerns.
The show, to be set over at least a year to follow the city’s progress over time, will debut toward the middle of 2009 with an initial order of six half-hour episodes.
More from the Reuters release in the Times: Forest Whitaker And Sundance Trying to Save Newark.
“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.
My wife and I are huge fans of the Wire, loved Revolution 67 and Street Fight, and can’t wait to see what Sundance is putting together.