Eric Benet stars in his first dramatic lead role as a single parent of a teen in Trinity Goodheart, an original movie on GMC TV and will premiere on Saturday, August 20, at 8 pm central time.
Based on an original screenplay by Rhonda Baraka, Trinity Goodheart is the name of a smart, independent young girl, played by Erica Gluck, who is being raised by her single, free-spirited musician father (Benet). When an angel visits her while sleeping and leaves her a pendant that belonged to her long-lost mother, Trinity concludes that her mom is in danger and sets out to find her as well as reunite her fractured family.
After his agent gave him a copy of the script, “I fell in love with the story,” said Benet. The movie also features longtime character actor James Hong, a Minneapolis native, and is directed by Joanne Hock.
Two of Benet’s songs, “Hurricane,” the title track of his 2005 album and “Somebody’s Waiting for Me,” which have not yet been released are included in the film. Additional music in the film includes Billy Preston’s “Will it Go Round in Circles,” “Live it Up” by Group 1 Crew and “Let It Go” by Mandy Gawley, an up-and-coming local Georgia artist.
Since he quickly admits that his day job is singer-songwriter, Benet said that he can be very selective about his film work. “I have the luxury to be able to pick and choose,” he surmises, adding that whether it’s singing or acting, his ultimate goal is “to have something positive and uplifting. “This project was a blessing for me.”
“It’s not a billion dollar movie but it looks fantastic,” noted GMC Senior Vice-President/General Counsel Paul Butler on Trinity Goodheart after it was screened by Black journalists at the 2011 National Association of Black Journalists convention in Philadelphia August 5. Butler added that the film was shot in 20 days after shooting began on February 28.
Among GMC’s slate of original movies that are scheduled to air once a month throughout this year, Trinity Goodheart fits his network’s “multi-cultural, multi-generational, inspirational and uplifting” programming, Butler told the MSR. “All of those elements are what GMC is all about.”
The senior vice-president, who is responsible for GMC’s business and legal affairs, including negotiating for original and acquired programming, said that his network — formerly known as Gospel Music Channel, competes with BET and TV One for Black viewers, and with the Hallmark Channel for those viewers looking for “family-friendly, inspirational programming.”
GMC also airs Saturday Night Gospel Playhouse, which features original gospel productions and such former network sitcoms as Amen, 227 and Sister, Sister.
“But I think that there is definitely something that we offer completely different from what the other networks offer,” Butler said proudly. “[Gospel] music is still a part of what we are, so I think we offer a real unique combination [of programming] that is unique on television.”
GMC was her first choice for Trinity Goodheart, said Baraka, a former journalist who once started her own magazine and also wrote for a variety of music and entertainment outlets. She is now working on her third film, a romantic comedy with Boris Kodjoe and Nicole Ari Parker. Her first film, Pastor Brown is scheduled for release on DVD next year.
The actors “really identified with the characters,” said Baraka of her screenplay. “I really set out to do was leave a message [with the viewers], and create characters — they’re all flawed and have issues,” she concluded.
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Photo: Choose from Trinity folder
Credit: Photos by Charles Hallman