Beliefnet
Faith, Media & Culture

Here are today’s dispatches from the crossroads of faith, media and culture.

1. Not your typical movie subject. The PG-13 film October Baby, now in limited release, tackles the story of a young woman who learns that her health problems may be linked to her birth mother’s attempt to abort her as an infant.

2. Baseball’s Negro Leagues subject of upcoming film.  Invisible Men, from award-winning producer/writer Joe Cacaci, will give an overdue big screen treatment to the stories and personalities that made up the Negro Leagues during an era in which Major League Baseball remained racially segregated.  Though focusing on fictional characters, the movie will also interweave the stories of real-life legends like Josh Gibson and Satchel Page.

Talking about the film, Cacaci says “We are at a point in American society where some of the most poignant stories of both sports and integration are being lost to time, and we feel that Invisible Men can help fill that void. This is not just a baseball story, it is a story of determination, sacrifice, following your dreams and striving for success in difficult times, all themes which anyone can relate to with the challenges we face today.”

To bring the project together, Cacaci is partnering with New York-based Odyssey Networks, the multi-faith media company which most recently produced the prison hospice documentary Serving Life for Oprah Winfrey’s OWN  network and the Amish family drama The Shunning (based on the bestselling Beverly Lewis novel)  for Hallmark Channel.

“Odyssey is delighted to be involved with Invisible Men,” says Maura Dunbar, EVP/Chief Content Officer for Odyssey, who will serve as Executive Producer, along with sports industry veteran Joe Favorito.  “This is very much a film in the Odyssey tradition of television that touches hearts and minds. It tells a vital chapter not just in sports history but in the American story itself. People are hungry for heroes today and they are sure to find them in these forgotten giants of the Negro League.”

The actual plot of Invisible Men centers on Leon and Sam Clarke, fictional brothers who play in the Negro Leagues, as well as their sister Mae and hard-working and loving parents Henrietta and Charles. Along with Nat Holmes, a reporter for the Pittsburgh Courier, they are the heart and soul of the movie.  Besides the aforementioned Josh Gibson and Satchel Paige, other real-life Negro League stars who figure into the story include Buck O’Neil, Buck Leonard, Oscar Charleston, Willie Wells, Jimmy CrutchfieldCool Papa Bell and legendary Negro Leagues owner and organizer Gus Greenlee.

Major League Baseball notables and legends who drop in and out of the story include the long reigning and intransigent commissioner Judge Kennesaw M. Landis,  Leo Durocher, Babe Ruth and  Brooklyn Dodgers GM Branch Rickey (who broke the MLB color barrier when he brought Jackie Robinson onto the team).

Cacaci, a lifelong baseball fan, conceived of the idea and created the original script. The veteran producer  co-created the CBS prime time series The Trials of Rosie O’Neill (starring Sharon Gless) and executive produced CBS’ The Education of Max Bickford (starring Richard Dreyfuss and Marcia Gay Harden). He has directed two indie features,  including Stranger in My House (starring Lindsay Crouse), and, most recently, Snatched (starring Andrew McCarthy, Jonathan Silverman, Jay Thomas and Ernest Borgnine). He’s currently in pre-production for his short film Food for Thought (starring  Tony Shalhoub).

3. My apologies...to anyone who attempted to go through this blog to link to last night’s live Intelligence Squared debate tackling the proposition “The World Would Be Better Off Without Religion” and were greeted by a blank screen.  It was a tech problem and I have no idea how those things work.  I’m still amazed I can post videos at all.

Encourage one another and build each other up – 1 Thessalonians 5:11

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