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Seith Mann Will Write & Direct VH1’s Next Original Movie, Based on the Book ‘The Big Payback’

Seith Mann Will Write & Direct VH1's Next Original Movie, Based on the Book 'The Big Payback'

VH1 has announced its next original movie project, titled “The Breaks” (working title), which is inspired by journalist Dan Charnas’ book “The Big Payback,” a narrative history of business in the hip-hop industry.

The film will be written, directed and executive produced by Seith Mann – a filmmaker whose name has been mentioned many times on this blog over the years – his award-winning short film, “Five Deep Breaths” as our introduction to the talented filmmaker, several years ago. Since then, he’s been cutting his teeth directing episodes of TV shows like “The Wire,” “The Walking Dead,” “Homeland” and more.  

With the potential to become a series after its movie premiere, “The Breaks” will, as the press release states, chronicle the journey of Nikki, David and Deevee, three friends united by their love of hip-hop, as they work to make their big mark in the music industry. The film will take viewers back to the summer of 1990 in New York City, where the music industry’s artists and hustlers intersect in the dance clubs and the street corners of the still crime-ridden city. Nikki Jones is a brilliant recent grad who abandoned a scholarship to law school, to pursue her dream of becoming a record exec. Her boyfriend, David Aaron, is the scrappy son of a legendary music producer who is unwilling to rest on his father’s laurels and notorious reputation. DeeVee is an aspiring producer on the hunt to find the next big rapper on the come-up. Nikki fast talks her way into an internship at the premier hip-hop company, Fouray Entertainment and catches the eye of the label’s infamous founder, while David struggles at the city’s top R&B radio station whose celebrity DJ refuses to program real hip-hop. Meanwhile, DeeVee returns to his roots in the Fort Greene projects to scout for talent and runs into Ahm, a drug dealer with a lyrical gift whose talent could bring them all to the next level.  But they will soon discover lives can be broken as fast as legends can be born.

 
“‘The Breaks’ has the hallmark of a successful VH1 film:  a strong, authentic storyline that celebrates a musical moment,” said Susan Levison, Executive Vice President, Original Programming and Production, VH1. “The story covers a seminal time when some thought Hip-Hop was a passing fad – ‘The Breaks’ will show how it became an enduring force.  We can’t wait to share it with our viewers.” 
 
“The Breaks” is the third movie in VH1’s successful push into scripted programming, following the 2013 record-breaking premiere of “CrazySexyCool: The TLC Story,” and success of last year’s “Drumline: A New Beat,” which drew in 2.4 million total viewers during its premiere.

VH1 plans to start principal photography on “The Breaks” in Spring 2015 with a premiere date set for Fall 2015.  

 
It’s good to see Seith behind a feature film… even though it’s not the one he’d long been wanting to make. 

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