This past Wednesday We Got Kidz was asked to attend what would be our second movie screening in two weeks. (We Got Kidz is on the fast track it would seem.) This one was for a GMC original television film called Raising Izzie – a faith and family based movie starring Daytime Emmy nominee and NAACP Image Award winner Vanessa Williams (“Lincoln Heights”, Soul Food), Rockmond Dunbar (The Family That Preys, “Sons of Anarchy”, Soul Food), Kyla Kenedy (Three Stooges, “CSI”), and Victoria Staley (“My Parents, My Sister and Me”, “Surface”). It officially premiers tomorrow at 7:00 p.m. ET exclusively on GMC.

This premier was by far on another level in comparison with the Obama Effect screening that I attended the week before. The attire was better and the circles ran deeper. This time I had my sidekick present: Nicole – my sister and world’s best up-and-coming photographer. Along with media, the attendees consisted of the movie’s entire cast and crew, which included accomplished director Roger Bobb – former VP of Tyler Perry Studios. It was a veritable “who’s who” of Atlanta. I was honored to be in attendance.

Here is the film synopsis:

When their mother passes away, sisters Izzie (Kyla Kenedy) and Gertie Nash (Victoria Staley) are forced to grow up fast. Afraid her daughters will be separated if placed in the foster care system, their mother makes arrangements for Gertie and Izzie to live on their own, with a bank account, apartment and small on-line business to support themselves. Older sister Gertie takes care of Izzie in addition to working and attending school. For a year, the girls are able to hide their predicament from their neighbors, their landlord and even their teachers. But when Tonya Freeman (Vanessa Williams), Gertie’s new teacher, becomes suspicious, the girls have to come up with a new plan to protect their secret. After Tonya confronts the girls and they confess to their situation, Tonya has to decide how to protect them and keep them together against the will of her husband Greg (Rockmond Dunbar).

My thoughts?
This movie was such a pleasant surprise.
I’m almost ashamed to say that GMC has never been a network that I’ve ever sought out to watch. Flipping through on occasions and glancing at previews for shows on the network, the words “corny” and “cheesy” quickly came to mind. This movie was so far removed from what I expected. I’ll go as far as to say that GMC has become a new television favorite.

Raising Izzie was a film wrought with emotion – From sweetly sentimental to melancholy and doleful. It was a roller coaster ride. There were even some funny moments sprinkled in with hilarious cameos from comedians Rodney Perry and Atlanta’s favorite radio personality Wanda Smith. The writing as a whole was very sharp and at times bitingly clever.

It’d be an understatement to say that the movie was well cast. The two youngest stars, Kyla Kenedy (Izzie) and Victoria Staley (Gertie) were amazing in their roles – displaying so much range of emotion that you’d find it hard to believe that these were their biggest roles to date. “This is only my second red carpet event ever!” Victoria Staley told We Got Kidz exclusively.

Vanessa Williams was perfect as the sassy teacher and wife to her “long time” TV husband Rockmond Dunbar. I say “long time” given that they aren’t strangers to playing spouses having played the exact roles for almost four years on the television drama Soul Food. Their chemistry was undeniable and joyous to watch.

Be sure to check out the world television premier of Raising Izzie tomorrow, July 21st at 7:00 p.m. and 9:00 p.m. with encore broadcasts, Sunday, July 22nd at 7:00 p.m. and 9:00 p.m. Monday, July 23rd at 9:00 p.m. and Friday, July 27th at 9:00 p.m. and 11:00 p.m. ET.

It’s a movie that the whole family can watch that’s filled with faith, hope, and true inspiration.


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