Premiere Marks the Television Debut of Made-For-TV Movie Written by TV One 2016 Screenplay Competition Winner Michelle McKissic
TV One’s original film Downsized, starring husband and wife duo Boris Kodjoe (Code Black, Undercovers) and Nicole Ari Parker (Almost Christmas, Time After Time), will premiere on Saturday, September 16 at 9 p.m. ET. The film, written by the 2016 TV One American Black Film Festival Screenplay Competition finalist Michelle McKissic, made its world premiere at this year’s festival held in June in Miami.
In Downsized, Kodjoe and Parker portray Michael and Ebony, high school sweethearts who were forced into marriage by their parents after a teen pregnancy. Fast forward 25 years and four children later, and Michael and Ebony typify the modern family – successful careers, beautiful home and all the trappings of success. To the world, they appear to have it all. Yet, the rewards that success has brought them have instead driven the family further apart from each other.
Michael and Ebony have reached a crossroads in their marriage and are ready to carry out their plan to go their separate ways following their eldest daughter’s graduation from law school. However, Michael has a change of heart. Hoping to reignite the spark that first brought them together, he whisks the family away for a month-long vacation, returning to their first home in the countryside to unplug and reconnect with one another. The trip becomes a journey of self-discovery for Michael and Ebony, as well as their children. Will the couple that appears to have it all on the surface discover that everything they really want, they already have?
Quite the opposite of their characters, Kodjoe and Parker have been happily married for 12 years and have two children. The stunning couple originally met while playing love interests on the iconic television show, Soul Food, and have since worked together in several productions, including Second Time Around, Brown Sugar, and The Boris and Nicole Show. The pair says they always enjoy the opportunity to work together, however, doing so on Downsized afforded them an opportunity to really reflect on their marriage while portraying a couple at odds with one another.
“One of the things I discovered was how much we are affected by family and how much family means to us. I’ve always known that, but it’s a nice experience to walk through that again on camera. We have made family our number one priority, and it’s kind of nice to be able to play that in a film as well,” says Kodjoe.
Parker agrees there’s much to be learned from the couple’s push and pull while debating the future of their relationship.
“Nowadays, we’re all programmed to walk away and look out for self when things get tough, but there is glory when you work as a team to get through the rough patch…I really appreciated that in the story. Joy does come in the morning when you push through,” says Parker. “Marriage isn’t for everybody. It’s not easy, and yet it’s so rewarding if you fight for it.”
Downsized also stars Alix Lapri, (Red Band Society, Reed Between The Lines), Isaiah John (Snowfall, Saints & Sinners), Racquel Bianca John (Born Again Virgin, Justice By Any Means), and Tia Hendricks (Bessie, Under The Dome). The film is directed by Rhonda Baraka, written by Michelle McKissic, and produced for TV One by Roger M. Bobb and Angi Bones of Bobbcat Films. For TV One, Jubba Seyyid serves as executive-in-charge of production and director of programming; Donyell Kennedy-McCullough as senior director of talent and casting; Robyn Greene Arrington is vice president of original programming; and D’Angela Proctor is executive producer and head of original programming and production.
For more information about TV One’s programming, visit the network’s companion website at www.tvone.tv. TV One viewers can also join the conversation by connecting via social media on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook (@tvonetv) using the hash tag #Downsized and catch clips and promos on TV One’s YouTube Channel.
The ABFF-TV One Screenplay Competition was created to encourage and promote the production of creative, contemporary, engaging and relatable screenplays, and offers budding writers the chance to showcase their talent and win the opportunity to see their project come to life. For information on submission deadlines and criteria, please visit https://tvone.tv/show/american-black-film-festival-2/.
The American Black Film Festival (ABFF) is an annual event dedicated to showcasing quality film and television content by and about people of African descent. The festival is committed to the belief that Black artists and content creators deserve the same opportunities as their mainstream counterparts.
ABOUT TV ONE:
Launched in January 2004, TV One serves 59 million households, offering a broad range of real-life and entertainment-focused original programming, classic series, movies and music designed to entertain and inform a diverse audience of adult black viewers. The network represents the best in black culture and entertainment with fan favorite shows Unsung, Rickey Smiley For Real, Fatal Attraction, The Manns and The NAACP Image Awards. In addition, TV One is the cable home of blockbuster drama Empire, and NewsOne Now, the only live daily news program dedicated to black viewers. In December 2008, the company launched TV One High Def, which now serves 14 million households. TV One is solely owned by Urban One, Inc., formerly known as Radio One, Inc. [NASDAQ: UONE and UONEK, www.urban1.com], the largest African-American owned multi-media company primarily targeting Black and urban audiences.