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Walden Media’s ‘Still I Rise’ to Begin Production in June

March 15th, 2011 by Paul Martin

When I heard the title, Still I Rise, I instantly felt inspired.  The title alone elicits an emotional response, for some reason. I e-mailed Walden Media’s Micheal Flaherty for more details on the film, but there were still more details that had to be nailed down.  He did say, though, that it was one of his favorite projects that they were working on.

The Pittsburgh Post Gazette also posted a story about it, which features more information:

“Still I Rise” is an original story about two strong women, both mothers, who channel their frustration into action and join forces to transform an inner-city school. They want to make a difference in education and the lives of their children.

The leads have yet to be cast, but production is expected to start May 2 or May 9, Walden Media executive Mylan Stepanovich said Monday.

Daniel Barnz, whose directing credits include “Beastly,” starring Vanessa Hudgens and Alex Pettyfer, and “Phoebe in Wonderland,” with Elle Fanning, will direct and write the screenplay. Veteran producer Mark Johnson also is on board.

“We’re obviously very excited to come there, we haven’t shot there before,” Mr. Stepanovich, a native of McKeesport, said by phone. “Our director really responded to the city and what he thought the city could deliver to the look of the film.”

However, when the commonwealth’s film tax credit seemed in doubt, the production also scouted six or seven other locations.

“We were waiting, fingers crossed for a few weeks and some nervous days, but with the governor approving the tax credit, it all worked out so we’re very happy,” said Mr. Stepanovich, senior vice president of physical production. The credit was vital, he said, given the movie’s budget, unspecified but less than a modest $20 million.

Walden, a film production and publishing company best known for family entertainment such as “The Chronicles of Narnia,” aims to have the film ready for possible release by mid-December.

“We are starting prep today, so we’ll start photography seven to nine weeks from now. Daniel’s doing a little bit of a rewrite, so we’re accommodating that part of his schedule, but we hope to be shooting either May 2 or May 9.”