EXCLUSIVE: Get Lifted Film Co. partners John Legend, Mike Jackson and Ty Stiklorius have come aboard as executive producers of United Skates, a documentary produced and directed by first-time feature filmmakers Dyana Winkler and Tina Brown. The feature-length pic is having its world premiere later this month at the Tribeca Film Festival in the Documentary Competition section.
It’s the latest move from busy Get Lifted, which is coming off its executive producer role on Easter Sunday’s Jesus Christ Superstar Live in Concert special on NBC, which drew 9.6 million total viewers and earned a 1.7 rating in adults 18-49 in Live+Same Day. Legend played Jesus Christ. The also recently produced the Sundance pic Monster and produced WGN America’s hit Underground.
United Skates centers on the battle in a racially charged environment to save African-American roller rinks, an underground subculture that has thrived for decades in the U.S., fostering community and incubating hip-hop by featuring acts from Dr. Dre and Ice Cube in Los Angeles to Queen Latifah, Salt-N-Pepa and Naughty by Nature on the East Coast. Their ranks have been dwindling, and the pic becomes part history lesson and part investigation into racial politics as the filmmakers visit black rink owners in L.A., Chicago, North Carolina and elsewhere.
“Roller skating rinks have long been a staple in African American communities and have served as a hub not only helping launch some successful careers in entertainment but also as a gathering place to help foster and develop relationships that in many cases have lasted a lifetime,” Jackson said. “We’re thrilled to come onboard United Skates to help tell this story.”
The Get Lifted trio will exec produce with Jeffrey Soros and Simon Horsman of Los Angeles Media Fund, Jim Butterworth and Daniel J. Chalfen of Naked Edge Films, Julie Parker Benello of Secret Sauce Media, and Brenda Robinson. Josh Alexander, Maida Lynn, Nion McEvoy and Johnny Nunez are co-executive producers.
Endeavor Content is repping rights to the film at Tribeca, where it premieres April 19.
The deal was negotiated by lawyers Nina Shaw and Laurie Megery on behalf of Get Lifted, and attorney Evan Krauss on behalf of the filmmakers.