Local, Charlotte, NC. Choir Made Famous by ‘American Idol’ Arrives in Charlotte
June 27, 2007 Charlotte, NC – The irresistible sea of small, beaming faces that sang alongside Josh Groban as part of the “Idol Gives Back” TV special to benefit needy children this season prepare a message for the world on Friday, as they gather within the walls of the recording studios of The Film Foundry in Charlotte’s South End.
According to Rick Eldridge, CEO of The Independent Producer’s Alliance, the Choir will be in Charlotte as part of the production of a theatrical documentary, “Running the Sahara.” Eldridge comments, “We count it a rare privilege to host these children and to be part of this amazing project that will, undoubtedly change perceptions of Africa the world over.” The film chronicles an unprecedented quest by a 3-man expedition team to do what no human has ever done before – to run across the Sahara Desert. Beyond the personal feat, the 111-day marathon event served to raise awareness and support for the charitable initiative,H20 Africa. The runners, including television producer and Greensboro native George Engle, began their trek in November from St. Louis Senegal, crossed the Sahara (which spans six countries) and ended their journey in February at the Red Sea, just east of Cairo, Egypt.
This Friday, the Choir will record a song by Hans Zimmer commissioned especially for the film. Zimmer is the award-winning composer of scores of soundtracks for box office favorites, such as Pirates of the Caribbean and The Da Vinci Code. The Choir was also featured on the soundtrack of the just released, “Blood Diamond.”
According to the African Children’s Choir web site, each member of the Choir is between seven and eleven years of age and has lost one or both parents “through the devastation of war, famine and disease.” From school auditoriums and pulpits to the stage of American Idol, these gifted children have succeeded in telling the story of destitute and orphaned children in Africa as they work to raise funds to help provide support, care and education back at home.
Theirs is a message of hope in the face of seemingly insurmountable obstacles. It is a message that matches that of the film itself, to be produced by LivePlanet, Allentown Productions, and Independent Producers Alliance (IPA) which is headed up by Eldridge and other award winning media executives. Celebrity clout just may help promotion of the film including Academy Award-winning director, James Moll, not to mention Matt Damon, also an Academy Award-winner who is both executive producer and narrator for the film.
The primary source of financial support for the film is Stanford Financial Group. Stanford was also a lead supporter of IPA’s most recent film “The Ultimate Gift,” with Abigail Breslin, scheduled for release on DVD in August. “IPA champions the work of award-winning independent producers who make films that inspire people to good things,” remarks Eldridge. IPA is based in Charlotte, NC where it operates production and post-production facilities, as well as its administration and distribution service units.
“Running the Sahara” is to be released at the Toronto International Film Festival this September. A DVD of footage of the documentary is available for broadcast purposes.