Documentary - TEN9EIGHT - Announces February National Broadcast on BET and CENTRIC in Celebration of Black History Month and Scholastic Companion Book Release

Jan 21, 2010, 16:44 ET from BET Networks

BOSTON, Jan. 21 /PRNewswire/ -- 50 Eggs Films today announced that BET and CENTRIC will broadcast the production company's newest film, TEN9EIGHT: Shoot for the Moon, on Super Bowl Sunday, February 7 at noon and February 8 at 8pm, respectively, as part of their special Black History Month programming. Throughout the month, BET and CENTRIC will pay homage to the remarkable accomplishments of African Americans during Black History Month with a superb lineup of thought-provoking films and compelling original programming.

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This exciting phase of the film's outreach follows a successful theatrical release in eight markets in partnership with AMC Entertainment. Critics called the film "inspiring… should be compulsory viewing in high schools around the country" (Lael Lowenstein, Variety), "very well made" (Mike Hale, The New York Times), "important" (Marshall Fine, Huffington Post), "gripping" (Nancy Colasurdo, FoxBusiness.com), "balanced with a raw truth telling" (Daryle Lockhart, The Black Box Office), "uplifting" (Siobhan O'Connor, GOOD Magazine), and "simply marvelous" (Curt Schleier, Film Soundoff). 

TEN9EIGHT, which is produced and directed by award winning filmmaker, Mary Mazzio, chronicles the inspirational stories of several teens from low-income communities, many of whom are on the bubble - on the verge of dropping out, joining a gang, or worse. 

But then – sometimes by happenstance - these students enroll in a course at school - an innovative program that teaches these students how to become entrepreneurs.  They learn how to read a balance sheet. And how to start a business.  24,000 of these students, from Harlem to Compton (and all points in between) then enter a nationwide business plan competition run by the Network for Teaching Entrepreneurship (NFTE).  And what they learn along the way profoundly changes their lives and destinies. 

TEN9EIGHT, whose title refers to the fact that every nine seconds a kid drops out of a U.S. high school, is especially timely in the midst of two simultaneous crises: an economic recession, in which entrepreneurship skills are especially valuable, and a dropout crisis, in which ways must be found to engage youth.

BET first discovered TEN9EIGHT during a search for programming for Viacom's "Get Schooled" project, a ground-breaking initiative to help address America's public education crisis. "Get Schooled" is dedicated to identifying sustainable and effective approaches that will increase high school and college graduation rates, improve postsecondary readiness and promote the fundamental importance of education.

"BET airing the film during Black History Month was a natural fit," said Barbara Zaneri, EVP of Programming Strategy, Scheduling and Acquisitions for BET. "TEN9EIGHT is a story of inspiration.  It shows that anything is possible when someone is given the right opportunity and the help to achieve. BET viewers tell us they are looking for hope. This film gives a great view of the future."

Concurrently, Scholastic, the global children's publishing, education and media company, will be publishing a companion book to the film, Teen Business Blasts Off, which will be made available through their book clubs to students and teachers nationwide.  

"The inspirational message of the film presented a unique opportunity for Scholastic Book Clubs to publish a companion book specifically for students in classrooms across America," said Judy Newman, President of Scholastic Book Clubs and E-Commerce. "TEN9EIGHT shows that a combination of hard work, perseverance, passion, and hope can help all students achieve their dreams. Scholastic Book Clubs' mission is to help all kids learn to love reading, and we hope that students across America read this motivational book, stay in school, and fulfill their potential."

TEN9EIGHT features the inspirational stories of 35 teenage finalists who arrive in New York City for a grueling day of presentations in NFTE's national competition in front of some of the nation's most prominent business leaders, including Arthur Blank, founder of Home Depot; Tom Scott, co-founder of Nantucket Nectars; Ralph Schlosstein, co-founder of BlackRock; Wyc Grousbeck, owner of the Boston Celtics, and Kay Koplovitz, co-founder of USA Network.  

The case of Rodney Walker, a finalist in the competition and the narrator of the film, is perhaps the best example. He was put into the foster care system at the age of five – along with his 10 brothers and sisters – and ended up essentially homeless on the streets of Chicago. Rather than joining his brothers in gangs or jail, Rodney was able to forge a better future for himself by learning how to start his own business. Today, he is on the Dean's List at Morehouse College.

"This was a thrilling documentary film to produce," adds Mary Mazzio, writer and director of TEN9EIGHT.  "Its message is important for a nation in which 1.2 million students drop out each year. I am both honored and delighted to be entering the next phase of our roll-out with BET airing the film and Scholastic publishing a companion book.  Our goal is simple – to reach as many kids as possible.  If this project inspires a single kid to stay in school, then we have all won."

About BET Networks

BET Networks, a division of Viacom Inc. (NYSE: VIA, VIA.B), is the nation's leading provider of quality entertainment, music, news and public affairs television programming for the African-American audience. The primary BET channel reaches more than 98 million households and can be seen in the United States, Canada, the Caribbean, the United Kingdom and sub-Saharan Africa. BET is the dominant African-American consumer brand with a diverse group of business extensions: BET.com, a leading Internet destination for Black entertainment, music, culture, and news; CENTRIC, a 24-hour entertainment network targeting the 25- to 54-year-old African-American audience; BET Digital Networks - BET Gospel and BET Hip Hop, attractive alternatives for cutting-edge entertainment tastes; BET Home Entertainment, a collection of BET-branded offerings for the home environment including DVDs and video-on-demand; BET Event Productions, a full-scale event management and production company with festivals and live events spanning the globe; BET Mobile, which provides ringtones, games and video content for wireless devices; and BET International, which operates BET in the United Kingdom and oversees the extension of BET network programming for global distribution.

About Scholastic

Scholastic Corporation is the world's largest publisher and distributor of children's books and a leader in educational technology and children's media. Scholastic creates quality educational and entertaining materials and products for use in school and at home, including children's books, magazines, technology-based products, teacher materials, television programming, film, videos and toys. The Company distributes its products and services through a variety of channels, including proprietary school-based book clubs and school-based book fairs, retail stores, schools, libraries, television networks and the Company's Internet Site, www.scholastic.com

About 50 Eggs Films

Mary Mazzio, an award-winning director, is Founder and CEO of 50 Eggs LLC, an independent film production company.  Mary wrote, directed and produced the highly acclaimed award-winning films, Lemonade Stories, Apple Pie, A Hero for Daisy and she recently completed we are BlackRock.  A Hero for Daisy was hailed by The New York Times as a "landmark film;" "fantastic" by Sports Illustrated; "remarkable" by NPR; aired nationwide on ESPN, Oxygen, and WTSN-Canada; and is in thousands of classrooms across the country.  Apple Pie aired nationwide on ESPN to critical acclaim, and was called "illuminating – told with deftness and emotion… priceless" by The New York Times; "heartwarming" by Los Angeles Times; "fantastic"- NPR, and "excellent" - CNN. Lemonade Stories, which aired nationwide on CNNfn (and which aired nationwide in Latin America, the UK, Israel, the Middle East, New Zealand, and Hong Kong), was the subject of cover stories by USA Today (complete with a trailer and photos on USA Today's splash page), Forbes.com, The Christian Science Monitor, ABC News.com, as well as featured on NPR, Bloomberg Radio, and in Fast Company.

Mazzio, an Olympic athlete (1992-Rowing), is a graduate of Mount Holyoke College and Georgetown Law School, and was formerly a partner with the law firm of Brown Rudnick in Boston, MA. She has served on a number of Boards of Directors including the Shackleton Schools (which serve high school students in danger of failing in traditional high schools), and Sojourner House (a homeless shelter). She resides in Massachusetts with her husband, Jay Manson, and two children. (www.50eggs.com)  

About the Network for Teaching Entrepreneurship (NFTE) is an international nonprofit organization that teaches young people from low-income communities to think like entrepreneurs, so they can take control of their futures. Founded in 1987 by Steve Mariotti, a former New York City public school teacher, it originally began as a dropout prevention and academic performance improvement program for students who were at risk of failing or quitting school. Today, NFTE has grown into a comprehensive business education program in 22 states and 12 countries with more than 280,000 graduates and more than 1,500 NFTE-certified entrepreneurship teachers.  (www.nfte.com)

SOURCE BET Networks



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