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Buffalo-based film to shine spotlight on Rick James

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Fri, Dec 11th 2020 10:40 am

Addison Henderson, founder of Night Owl Republic Films, along with LeRoi C. Johnson & Velocity Global Group create partnership with Emmy-nominated writer/producer Matt Fleckenstein & Buffalo Studios for television series about legendary musician Rick James; set to be Buffalo Studios' first project

Award-winning filmmaker, Addison Henderson (Night Owl Republic Films), in association with internationally acclaimed painter and attorney LeRoi C. Johnson, will team up with Emmy-nominated writer/producer Matt Fleckenstein and Buffalo Studios to produce a television series following the life of brothers LeRoi and Rick James who, together, partnered to dominate the music arena with monster hits "Give it to Me Baby" and "Super Freak.” The episodic project, currently titled “Brother’s Keeper,” is slated to be the first project to go into production at Buffalo Studios.

“Brother's Keeper” details the unbelievable journey of LeRoi (Rick’s brother, former manager, lawyer and lifetime confidant) and Rick, from their early days in the Buffalo projects to their worldwide achievements.

“(This story is) about two driven brothers destined to join forces and conquer the world. Triumph and tragedy made them more than they could ever be alone,” Henderson said.

The beauty of this project is the audience will get the full truth from the person who was there from the beginning.

Johnson explained, “People know pieces of our journey, but no one knows the complete narrative. Ultimately, there is no one alive who knows my brother’s story like I do. Period.”

This series will be told through LeRoi’s eyes as he takes viewers on a journey of a lifetime, detailing all the drama and excitement in these brothers’ lives – from helping their mother run numbers for organized crime as kids; to famously performing with the legendary Neil Young in the Canadian band The Mynah Birds; to the heartbreaking moment when LeRoi’s young wife dies, leading him to join Rick on the road to build their empire; to flying a private jet over the eye of a hurricane while on the run from authorities in Texas.

Henderson has been wanting to tell the Rick James story for over 15 years.

“I spent countless hours over the past year-and-a-half with LeRoi soaking up the stories and turning them into a television series,” he said.

Henderson and Johnson said they have already received an overwhelmingly positive response from several major Hollywood studios and production companies interested in funding the project.

Henderson, also a native of Buffalo, shot his most recent feature film in Buffalo, “G.O.D. (Givers of Death),” which won the Best Screenplay award at this year’s prestigious American Black Film Festival.

“My goal is to bring the world to Buffalo,” he said. “It has so much to offer. It’s a city rich with history, creativity and an outstanding labor force that has an unwavering commitment to excellence.”

Johnson said he is thrilled the project is finally coming to fruition: “To tell my family’s story is a dream come true, and to do it at Buffalo Studios feels like a perfect match.”

A press release said, “Buffalo offers up to 35% film tax credit, and Buffalo Studios, which will be Western New York's only true movie studio lot, offers the ideal home for this project.”

" ‘Brother's Keeper’ will be one for the ages and it will again spotlight the City of Buffalo, along with Buffalo Studios in its journey to becoming a major player in the film and TV industry,” producer Trent Boling said.

Fleckenstein is a multiple Emmy-nominated writer/producer with over 15 years of experience developing, writing and producing content. He is bringing his decades of experience back to his hometown through his recently announced Buffalo Studios, alongside co-founder and COO Adam Parker.

A press release stated, “Fleckenstein's experience as a producer and now a studio owner blend perfectly to help bring ‘Brother's Keeper’ to life. Establishing themselves as incredibly creator-friendly, the studio plans to cash-flow the NYS tax credits ‘Brother's Keeper’ is eligible to receive, helping to not just be a resource for production, but a part of the funding to bring this great story to life.”

Fleckenstein's vision for Buffalo Studios is clear: "One of our main goals is to be a home for great Buffalo talent to tell great Buffalo stories. Addison and LeRoi are telling one of the biggest Buffalo stories there is, and we're thrilled we get to play a part."

Velocity Global Group along with ARC Building Partners arranged the Partnership and is supporting both Buffalo Studios and “Brother’s Keeper.” Buffalo Studios is on track to break ground this spring.

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