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Monday, October 3, 2016

RLJ Entertainment Announces Acquisition of Urbanworld Film Festival Titles “Like Cotton Twines” and “Knucklehead”

— Both films set to premiere on RLJE’s subscription VOD service, Urban Movie Channel —

Alfre Woodard and Gbenga Akinnabe star in Knucklehead

Alfre Woodard and Gbenga Akinnabe star in Knucklehead

Los Angeles, CA — Following the 20th anniversary of the Urbanworld Film Festival, RLJ Entertainment is set to release Leila Djansi’s (Where Children Play) compelling new feature film, Like Cotton Twines. The film, which screened in the World Narrative Category at this year’s festival, follows Micah (Jay Ellis, The Game, HBO’s Insecure), an American volunteer who teaches in a Ghanaian village and harbors high expectations for his mother’s homeland. He’s eager to help his students reach their full potential, especially the bright 13-year-old Tuigi (Ophelia Klenam Dzidzornu). But when Tuigi’s family must pay for an accident caused by her father, Tuigi must abandon her education and offer herself as a sex slave. Outraged and upset, Micah battles the tribal culture, religious customs, and the state itself in order to save Tuigi from a cruel fate.

“This film is almost akin to a marriage between Africans and African Americans. Our stories are deeply personal experiences that no one can tell to the world better than us. UMC is a foundation on which such stories can rest. I am continuously grateful that I am able to add to its tapestry,” said Djansi. Like Cotton Twines is slated to premiere on RLJE’s subscription video on demand service, Urban Movie Channel (UMC) in December 2016. The film will also be released on DVD in early 2017.

In addition to Like Cotton Twines, RLJ Entertainment also acquired Urbanworld film festival alum Knucklehead, which screened in 2015. Starring Emmy award-winner Alfre Woodard and Gbenga Akinnagbe (HBO’s The Wire, Independence Day 2), who also produced the project, the film follows a young man who suffers from a mental disability and is convinced that prescription drugs can cure him. “Knucklehead is about the undeniable power of faith moving us forward in our lives despite what obstacles we might encounter. We made this movie about characters in Brooklyn, but anyone whose life has been touched by someone who faces mental health challenges will find hope and a reason to laugh in this uplifting story about one young man’s struggle to help himself,” said director and producer Ben Bowman. “Gbenga Akinnagbe is a force of nature. I’m honored that he put his passion into bringing this project to the screen. I agree with Alfre Woodard that he is ‘one of the most gifted and versatile actors of his generation.’”

To date, Knucklehead has only been seen at select film festivals throughout the country. It will premiere exclusively on UMC on Friday, October 21, 2016, marking the first time the film will be widely released and available nationally. Knucklehead will also be released on DVD on December 6, 2016.


About RLJ Entertainment
RLJ Entertainment, Inc. (NASDAQ: RLJE) is an entertainment content distribution company in primarily North America, the United Kingdom, and Australia. RLJE’s titles are distributed in multiple formats including broadcast television (including satellite and cable), theatrical and non-theatrical, DVD, Blu-Ray, digital download, and digital streaming.

With its popular OTT branded channels, Acorn TV (British TV) and UMC (Urban Movie Channel), RLJE targets distinct, premium audiences and Urban niche audiences. The company grows its proprietary digital channels through development, acquisition, and distribution of exclusive rights of program franchises and feature film content.

Through Acorn Media Enterprises, its UK development arm, RLJE owns all rights to the hit UK mystery series Foyle’s War and is developing new programs. RLJE owns 64% of Agatha Christie Limited, which manages the intellectual property and publishing rights to some of the greatest works of mystery fiction, including stories of the iconic sleuths Miss Marple and Poirot. Through its proprietary e-commerce web sites for the Acorn brand in North America and the UK, the company also has direct contacts and billing relationships with millions of consumers.

For more information, please visit RLJEntertainment.com, Acorn.TV, and UrbanMovieChannel.com.


About UMC – Urban Movie Channel
Created by Robert L. Johnson, Chairman of RLJ Entertainment (NASDAQ: RLJE) and founder of Black Entertainment Television (BET), Urban Movie Channel (UMC) is the first urban-focused subscription streaming service in North America that features quality urban content and showcases feature films, documentaries, original series, stand-up comedy, and other exclusive content for African American and urban audiences. New titles added weekly include live stand-up specials like Gary Owen’s I Agree with Myself, and performances featuring Academy Award® winner Jamie Foxx and comedic rock star Kevin Hart; dramas including Blackbird starring Academy Award® winning actress and comedian Mo’Nique, Isaiah Washington, and directed by Patrik-Ian Polk; documentaries including Bill Duke’s Dark Girls and I Ain’t Scared of You: A Tribute to Bernie Mac; action/thrillers including The Colony starring Laurence Fishburne; and stage play productions including What My Husband Doesn’t Know by David E. Talbert. Available at www.urbanmoviechannel.com, UMC offers a free 14-day trial and thereafter is just $4.99/month or $49.99/year.


Farah Noel